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What is a learning disability?

There are many different types of learning disability. They can be mild, moderate or severe.

Some people with a mild learning disability do not need a lot of support in their lives, but other people may need support with all sorts of things, like getting dressed, going shopping, or filling out forms.

Some people with a learning disability also have a physical disability. This can mean they need a lot of support 24 hours a day. This is known as profound and multiple learning disabilities.

A learning disability does not stop someone from learning and achieving a lot in life, if they get the right support.

What is Autistic Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition that affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour. It includes Asperger syndrome and childhood autism.

Some people also use the term autism spectrum condition or ‘neurodiverse’ (as opposed to people without autism being ‘neurotypical’).

The main features of ASD typically start to develop in childhood, although the impact of these may not be apparent until there is a significant change in the person’s life, such as a change of school.

In the UK, it’s estimated that about one in every 100 people has ASD.

There is no ‘cure’ for ASD, but a wide range of treatments – including education and behaviour support – can help people with the condition.

What is Challenging Behaviour?

Challenging Behaviour has been defined by Emerson (1995) as “culturally abnormal behaviour of such an intensity, frequency or duration that the physical safety of the person or others is likely to be placed in serious jeopardy, or behaviour which is likely to seriously limit use of, or result in the person being denied access to, ordinary community facilities.

The types of behaviours can include; self-injurious behaviour (head banging, hand biting), hurting others, destructive behaviours, and other behaviours such as stripping, repetitive rocking.

People with learning disabilities who present challenging behaviours are often marginalised, stigmatised, disempowered and excluded from mainstream society. It has a significant impact on both the individual and the families and friends who care for them. The Beeches believes that it is our role to work with these families and other professionals to find effective ways of understanding a person’s behaviour and its underlying causes and to ensue the person lives as ordinary life as possible in their local community.