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Learning Disability

Volume 471: debated on Thursday 31 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will define the range of conditions covered by the term learning difficulties as used in the Valuing People Now document; and if he will make a statement; (183575)

(2) what plans he has to consult disabled people with no ability to live independently or to work on the proposals in the Valuing People Now initiative.

‘Valuing People Now, from Progress to Transformation’ uses the definition of learning disability Valuing People (2001) as including the presence of:

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

a reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning); and

which started before adulthood, with a lasting effect on development.

Learning disability does not include all those who have a specific “learning difficulty”, which is more broadly defined in education legislation. ‘Valuing People Now’ includes people with autism who also have a learning disability.

The aspiration of ‘Valuing People Now’ is to include everyone, starting from the position that we can move towards independent living, with the right support, for even those with the most complex needs. There are many examples of this, led by families who want the best for their sons and daughters.

The consultation process is being taken forward in a way that is accessible for people who do not use words and for those who have complex needs. The consultation is also involving the people who work with them, family members and close carers who understand their best interests.