The Department of Health in England (DH 2001) in their ‘Valuing People’ document define a learning disability as: ‘a significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information, to learn new skills (impaired intelligence) along with a reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning). The onset of disability is considered to have started before adulthood, with a lasting effect on development’. For the purposes of service delivery the terms “mild”, “moderate”, “severe and profound” learning disabilities are sometimes used to categorise or label children and young people. This appears to suggest distinct categories for learning disability but in reality these do not adequately describe the range of impairments or disabilities this group of children may have may not have or the support that they may require. Children and young people who have moderate, severe, or profound learning disabilities may also experience mental health problems and/or challenging behaviour. This can include:
· Anger and aggression
· Low mood, sadness
· Agitated, unsettled or disruptive behaviours
· Self- harm
At CAMHS, we have a range of professionals including Psychiatrists, Learning Disability Nurses and Psychologists who have extensive training and experience of working with children, young people and families who are affected by Learning Disabilities. We work in a number of ways to support young people with their difficulties. This includes consultation with professionals and services, and direct work with young people and their families. We meet children and families in community settings such as their home, school, respite and in clinic.