Learning Disability  articles

Since 1984

Learning Disability MYTHS-work in progress

Here, we explore the many myths of learning Disability that are still being used today.

Learning Disability has faced many misunderstandings, even today it is still widely misunderstood by people.

So here are some that I have seen over the years....

*Learning difficulties is the same thing as Learning Disability.

--Learning Difficulties is very different and means conditions that don't cause intelectual impairment and functional impairment-they can be usually worked around using a different way of learning but in Learning Disability the impairment is across the whole life.

*Autism is a Learning Disability.

--whether you are talking about asperger or classic type autism you woud be mistaken in the UK because in classic autism the person can be seen as having a very low or very high intelligence but in Asperger type autism the intelligence must be at least one point outside of Learning Disability and is mostly found in those classed as average or above average intelligence,so both are not Learning Disabilities but often get labelled as one.

*its offensive to call it a intelectual disability/its offensive to say the person has an intelectual disability,they are able to do x/y/z.

Have you asked a lot of learning disabled people if they dotn mind that its called an intelectual disabilty? it isnt offensive to me or anyone i knwo who has some level of learning disability, its just a fact, it doesnt make you any different ,or better or worse.

and i hate it when people say 'i cant possibly have learning disability, because i can do x/y/z' (usualy its because i can read and type but they dont know the difficulties i have around it unless they know LD and the years i have spent/still spend having to check every word i see with a browser based dictionary and thesaurus.but sometimes they say this to me because they are using more severely learning disabled people either to say i dont deserve understanding of what i went through as much or as a slur and theyre saying 'you dont want to be like them' i knwo as i hvae heard exactly this off clinical support staff many times when iwas sectioned in a learning disability hospital for a long time.

*People with Learning disability cant read or write, or speak in sentances.

--I have been told this by many people who think they know better,but just because your diagnosis is MILD LD and you do not have moderate,severe or profound Learning Disability it does not mean you don't struggle with understanding, processing information, communication, reading, writing, vocabulary (i regulary have to use a dictionary and thesarus to understand or speak to people online to avoid being bullied,plus i cannot write,i can read ok only with big fonts, less words and colour filters on top) or basic functioning skills,the more you forget and naturally mask your LD The more that people hold back on their empathy or adapting the way they speak to you by avoiding firing so much information at you without checking if you have processed and understood first-no one does it with me they just assume i have understood or taken it in.

*People with Learning Disability cant be LGBTQ+,they dont have the understanding.

--my story kind of backs the ignorance up as i didnt understand basic gender till my twenties but it shoud be never assumed that a person with LD cannot be LGBTQ+, i know many learning disabled people who are LGBTQ+,including one person who has severe LD.

*People with severe or profound learning disability cant understand anything you tell them.

--this is ....so 'bullshit' -if you ever hear people tell you this about your child,your relative, your student etc,laugh at them because you know your relative more than anyone (and its now widely acepted to never asume lack of capacity unless proven otherwise)-thats the useless crap what people like my grand mother were told about my uncle William to remove him from the family (uncle william has PMLD and physical disability-my grand mother was told from birth he woud die but they kept pushing the barrier up as to that date,he is still with us thankfuly but unfortunately he is in a shitty hospice in ireland (or what were called institutions over here),id love to be an advocate for him as he has no family sticking up for him sadly) many others were also told back in the day about relatives with PMLD especialy and i think it was a way at making people give up their relatives to work houses and institutions as so called 'normal folk' dont want learning disabled people being seen in their community,causing the 'normal folk' shame.

i have lived with many other learning disabled people -from that era who unfortunately were either institutionalised from very early on or were actualy locked in bedrooms until institutionalisation in adulthood-awful isnt it? as with many vunerable or diverse people groups-we werent seen as human-even when i was put in one of the last long term institutions (not learning disability hospitals-many of which still exist),it was used to hide us away from society thats why it got shut down a few years later-so called 'care in the community' which was a nightmare-you instiutitionalise many people for many years and suddenlu rehome them into a community they were never prepared for and a community which knows nothing about LD and fears them.

it wasnt a great fit for everyone including myself-i was moved to so many different residential homes who coudnt deal with me and called me a burden on the staff,the best home i ever lived in is the only place i have ever felt i coud call a safe,loving,encouraging home-most of the staff understood compex and non verbal autism-a residential home in manchester which is still going,the entire organisation was amazing,all the management and staff,all the specialists they had and all the service users.

i am very pasionahte about learning disability and especialy for advocateing for people who may not have the same abilities as i do so they are not neglected or abused and get a fair chance in life and at having a decent quality of life.

why neurodiversity does not support learning (intelectual) disability

i have always been a folower and supporter of much of the neurodiversity movement...but not all of it-i dont support the extreme far right/anti everything atitudes, for example if you are going to be highly anti ABA by pissing off its parent userbase-you wont get anywhere but piss a bunch of people off,its proven to be the quickest way to make people not listen to you.

its better to show supporters why its long term damaging for autistic and/or LD people instead of saying "its wrong,what your doing is wrong".

im not a fan of the way neurodiversity has become a place for people to get celebrity status,ive seen some people get adored when theyd done nothing in ND to deserve it-all they have done is get popular and say key words.

there are many well known and underground ND supporters out-there unfortunately my memory is destroyed by epilepsy but i will always remember an old friend (who many know-she has actual enemies which is very sad as she genuinly means well), who even when we disagreed over points she never shoved it in my face and made me feel bad like some ND supporters-she woud either help me understand other ways of thinking or not bother to take it on.she has fought the bleaching of children,written and had books published helping people understand autism,been a BBC spokesperson for different ND issues and infiltrated many private groups on facebook aimed at encouraging giving kids CD/MMS/bleach -and got them shut down, she doesnt get the crowds and fanfare like other ND supporters as she is legit, she is exactly what neurodiversity needs,shes an amazing person for everything she conttibrutes to society and i wont say her name but if you know neurodiversity well you will probably know her and have spoken to her at some point.even if you somehow dislike ND, dislike her or what she says you cant argue that she doesnt do huge things for vunerable people.

i dont support the elitesm towards people who are moderately,severely profoundly autistic or are learning disabled to any level,or people with other neurodiverse conditions like dyslexia, bipolar and adhd etc.

there has been an active push towards making neurodiversity only in support of people whose care and communication needs are self reliant or close to self reliant.

for people who might need an advocate to help them communicate or an alternative form of communication to communicate themselfs,who might have acute behaviors that challenge or behaviors that confuse others they are simply seperated from and ignored,quite often its because they dont understand that we can have qualities and talents to and that with the right adaptions, equipment and constant supports in place we dont live lives of horror and doom and gloom-they only see negativity when looking at us which is going against what neurodiversity stands for,from what i understand.

as ive probably said elsewhere on here (sorry,please remember i have feck all short term/working memory,i often repeat myself in writing without realising) i am mildly learning (intelectualy) disabled and classic autistic among many other things, because there is a wide belief that intelectualy disabled peopel are all not able to spell or read or understand,people dont even recognise i am learning disabled and what i go through in my head or othewise-other than services i use like my day centre ansd venture arts who understand what mildly learning disabled people go through. it flavours my autism how it presents, im also on a lot of behavioral medications which can calm me and are also to work on other issues i have to which did create a very low quality of life for me including severe/unstable epilepsy and severe pain from my restraining damage and extremely acute anxiety as well as my so called 'severe challenging behavior' (or behavior that challenges as they so delightfuly call it now) so staff where i live have never seen the real me as such,and with that come the usual challenges as expected.