What is a Severe Learning Disability (SLD)?

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) is a charity specialising in severe learning disabilities (SLDs).
The term learning disability (LD) refers to a range including: mild (MLDs), moderate (MLDs), severe (SLDs), and profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLDs).
A severe learning disability (SLD) will be identified at birth or in early childhood.
Someone who has a severe learning disability (SLD) will:
Have little or no speech.
Find it very difficult to learn new skills.
Need support with daily activities such as dressing, washing, eating, and keeping safe.
Have difficulties with social skills.
Need life-long support.
A severe learning disability (SLD) is typically diagnosed at birth or in early childhood. Signs of developmental delay may be noticed by a range of people such as health visitors, paediatricians, general practitioners (GPs) or family members, prompting a formal assessment leading to a diagnosis.
Some individuals with severe learning disabilities (SLDs) may also be diagnosed with another condition such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Ann-Smith-Ruth-Ellen-Magenis syndrome (ASREMS), or Prader-Labhart-Willi-Fanconi syndrome (PLWFS). However, not every individual with a diagnosed condition, such as those above, will also have a severe learning disability (SLD).
Anyone can display challenging behaviour. The Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) focuses on supporting the family carers of children and adults with a severe learning disability (SLD), who also display challenging behaviour. When the person displaying the behaviour also has a severe learning disability (SLD), the behaviour is often the only way that person has to get their needs met.
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) aims to provide information and support to families and professionals to help support people with severe learning disabilities (SLDs) to live the lives they want. We know that when people with severe learning disabilities (SLDs) are well understood and supported challenging behaviour reduces in frequency and intensity.