About the Observatory

The Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory has been funded by the Scottish Government to generate evidence and build understanding of the causes of poor health and health inequalities experienced by people with learning disabilities and people with autism.


What will the Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory do?

 

The Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory will contribute to health improvement by providing information, data, and intelligence on the health and healthcare of people with learning disabilities and people with autism. It will turn this information and data into meaningful health intelligence for practitioners, commissioners, policymakers and the wider community.

This will be achieved by:

  • Increasing the visibility of people with learning disabilities within Scotland’s routinely collected data,
  • Collating and presenting relevant data about the population of people with learning disabilities and autism in Scotland that is accessible to a wide audience, and by
  • Generating high quality evidence to build understanding of the health and health inequalities experienced by people with learning disabilities and autism.

For more detailed information about this work please go to our projects page.

Policy and legislation

As a strategic delivery partner of the Scottish Government's learning disabilities policy team the Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory will work collaboratively with people with learning disabilities and people with autism, as well as families, carers and other policy teams to help deliver the goals of health improvement and equality outlined in national policy.

Research Voices

People with learning disabilities are often excluded from health research and their views are rarely captured. There is a need to develop robust public engagement methods with this marginalised group to improve quality and diversity in research into learning disabilities and to challenge barriers and attitudes that exclude people with learning disabilities either as subjects or participants in studies.

Blog

The Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory will post regular blogs from the team and our partners 

The Observatory Team

Our team of researchers are drawn from diverse backgrounds including medicine, social sciences, public health and health informatics.

What are learning disabilities?

 

As with everyone else people with learning disabilities are all different. Individual experiences and opportunities at different points in life can impact on peoples' skills and abilities in different ways. However there are times when it is really important to clearly define 'learning disabilities'. For example when these definitions describe who can and can't access a particular service or who a research study is about.

Learning takes longer for a person with learning disabilities. People have learning disabilities from birth, or develop them during infancy or childhood. A person with learning disabilities needs additional support with learning whilst at school, with some daily activities at school and as they live through their adult life. Some definitions of learning disabilities also require the person to have an intelligence quotient less than 70.

Our report discusses these issues in the context of different approaches to finding out more information about the population with learning disabilities.

Did you know

72.2%

of people known to have autism in Scotland are male

Did you know

5,234

children in Scotland have learning disabilities

Did you know

57.5%

of people with learning disabilities in Scotland are male