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Our eligibility criteria

Sometimes there is confusion about the difference between a learning disability and a learning difficulty. SLDS are commissioned to support people who have a learning disability rather than a learning difficulty. According to the Department of Health (DH) learning disability includes the presence of:

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  • A significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information and to learn new skills (impaired intelligence), with;

  • A reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning)

  • Which started before adulthood, with a lasting effect on development.

A learning difficulty can be described as a problem which influences specific areas of cognitive ability rather than learning and functioning across all areas of life. Unlike a learning disability, a learning difficulty does not affect general intelligence (IQ). Common types of learning difficulties are dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD and an individual may have more than one type. As mentioned above, SLDS is not commissioned to work with people with learning difficulties, where their overall IQ and daily living skills are above the learning disability range. Autism is a neuro developmental disorder and SLDS are also not commissioned to work with adults with autism only. 

Our eligibility criteria can be summarised as follows:

  • People with a learning disability (all three factors above must be present for Learning Disability Service criteria to be met.

  • Adults (over 18 years)

  • Herts GP 

Having a low intelligence quotient on assessment i.e. an IQ below 70, is not, in itself, sufficient reason for deciding whether an individual should be provided with additional health and social care support. Our definition of eligibility encompasses people with a broad range of disabilities.

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