"A state of arrested or incomplete development of mind"
This appears to include all people with a learning disability as long as it is caused before the mind is completely developed. Therefore, this refers any person whose learning disability is a result of either genetics, an accident, a disease, or an environment before or shortly after birth. It would not refer to someone, for instance, who has suffered a brain injury during adulthood.
"Severe impairment of intelligence"
The measurement of intelligence is made using the IQ Test; an assessment using a battery of standardised tests to evaluate a person's ability to think and reason. It is not a measure of knowledge. The average IQ in the UK is about 100.
"Severe impairment of social functioning"
This refers to matters such as a person’s ability to manage the activities of daily living and generally look after themselves and cope across all domains of their lives. It may also involve a consideration of the individual’s ability to relate meaningfully to other people.
Degrees of Learning Disability:
Health and Social Care professionals use IQ testing to identify the presence and degree of a learning disability:
It should not be seen as the only method of identifying the presence of learning disability in an individual and the language associated with IQ scoring is now considered by many, particularly within the learning disabled community, to be outdated. Nevertheless, these are the terms that we are likely to encounter within the legal system.
The average IQ is 100 and a test result of below 70 is generally considered to indicate a formal learning disability.
70-80 borderline learning disability.
50 -70 mild learning disability.
35 - 50 moderate learning disability.
20 - 35 severe learning disability.
Below 20 profound learning disability.
But it's not all about IQ and cognition - people develop socially and emotionally with a rich variety of life experiences and relationships. Watch this video from the charity Mencap to hear from people with learning disabilities and their families discuss what a learning disability means to them.