There are many misconceptions about learning disabilities, that can cause harmful stigma and stereotypes. We have put together a list of the 5 most common myths about learning disabilities, with the facts, to debunk them!
1. Only children are affected by learning disabilities
It’s an extremely common misconception that only children are affected by learning disabilities. It is true that most diagnoses of a learning disability happen during childhood, but there are adults who are diagnosed too. Many people think that you can just ‘grow out of’ a learning disability, especially as you grow older and more mature. This isn’t the case with a lot of conditions and disorders, as it can take a lot more than just growing up to be fully rid of them. However, it has been proven that learning disability symptoms can improve with age, even if they do not disappear altogether.
2. All learning disabilities are the same
There are a wide range of complex spectrum when it comes to learning disabilities. There are mild aspects of one disorder that can be similar to extreme symptoms of another. However, no two learning disabilities are the same, regardless of their similarities. Many can have an impact on socializing, physical health and well-being, as well as learning. If you know someone who has a learning disability then find out more about that particular condition, before just assuming that they find certain things difficult.
3. People with learning disabilities aren’t very intelligent
There is a very big difference between learning disabilities and not being intelligent. In fact 33% of people with a learning difficulty have a higher than normal intelligence, making them ‘Talented and Gifted’. Again, this is all dependent on the type of learning disability that a person has and what it affects in their daily life. Some patients may take longer to learn certain things than others; and some may pick up on things much quicker than you and I.
4. If you have a learning disability then you can’t live a normal life
Although many learning disabilities can be debilitating, this doesn’t mean that the sufferers cannot live a normal life. There are many organisations, such as the Choice Care Group, that provide people with the things they need to carry on living normally. It could be helping them with their shopping or simply popping in to socialite; whatever it takes to ensure those with a learning difficulty can live a normal life.
5. Some people say they have learning disabilities just to get sympathy
A huge percentage of people with learning disabilities will never disclose that they have one, due to fear of discrimination or stereotyping. Opening up about a condition can be very difficult and one that will have taken a lot of thought; certainly not to get sympathy from other people. If someone opens up about their learning disability then it may be to get the help that they need to live their life, so don’t be too quick to judge.
We hope this has busted some of those infamous learning disability myths! Next time you come into contact with someone that has a learning disability make sure you’re not stereotyping or making some of those common misconceptions; get to know them and then ask them what life is really like for them.