Report focuses on issues around learning disabilities and children

A new report on children with learning disabilities reveals that half aren’t diagnosed in childhood and those who are won’t collect their

The report, published earlier this month by the UCL Institute of Health Equity (IHE) shows the Government’s emphasis on ‘fairness’ and fixing a ‘broken society’ has failed for hundreds of thousands of children with learning

The IHE report – A fair, Supportive Society – shows the most vulnerable in society, such as those with learning disabilities, will die 15 to 20 years sooner on average than the general population – that’s 1,200 people every

The IHE’s Director, Professor Sir Michael Marmot, highlights the fact that this difference is not an inevitable consequence of the underlying condition that led to the learning disability. He comments: “This is a direct result of a political choice that destines this vulnerable group to experience some of the worst of what society has to offer: low incomes, no work, poor housing, social isolation and loneliness, bullying and abuse. A staggering 40% of people with learning difficulties aren’t even diagnosed in childhood. This is an avoidable sign of a society failing to be fair and supportive to its most vulnerable members. We need to change this. The time to act is now.”

•  In 2010 the IHE published a government-commissioned review of health inequalities, Fair Society, Healthy Lives. Its recommendations prioritised policies to allow a child to maximise his or her opportunity to lead as healthy and as long a life as biologically possible.

•  Instead 18-year-olds today face the possibility of a shorter life than their parents; and 18-year-olds with learning disabilities may well not live long enough to draw their

•  Around 40% of people with learning disabilities are not identified in childhood.

•  More than 1,200 children and adults with a learning disability die prematurely every year.

•  Children with learning disabilities are at increased risk of mental health conditions, including depression; half of the increased risk of mental health difficulties is attributable to poverty, poor housing, discrimination and bullying.

•  Despite just 2.9% of the whole population having learning disabilities, a quarter of young people in custody have learning disabilities.

For the full report, please click here to see it online.