Learning disabilities and autism

NHS North East London is working to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities and autism who live in our boroughs, including our partnerships with local authorities, provider trusts and local communities.

You can find out about the different things we are working on by clicking on the tabs on the left. You will also find useful links to websites and resources under each section. If you need further information you can contact the North East London Learning Disabilities and Autism programme team by email at nel.lda@nhs.net.

Learning Disabilities

A learning disability can affect the way a person learns new things throughout their whole life. Somebody with a learning disability may take longer to learn and may need help to develop new skills, understand information and interact with other people.

There are many different types of learning disability and they can be mild, moderate or severe. The level of care and support needed will depend on a person’s level of disability and their abilities.

More information about learning disabilities including, what support is available, can be found on the Mencap website.

A learning difficulty, such as dyslexia and ADHD, is often confused with learning disabilities. To find out the difference please read the page on learning difficulties by Mencap.


Autism is a lifelong disability that can affect the way somebody communicates, interacts and behaves.

There are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK and each one of them have their own strengths and challenges. Some autistic people may not need a great deal of support whereas others may need support on a daily basis.

For further information about autism please take a look at the National Autistic Society website.

NHS Long Term plan

The NHS long term plan came out in January 2019 and sets out how the NHS will deliver health care over the next ten years and beyond.

The NHS long term plan aims to improve people’s health and outlines how this will be done for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.  The main aim is to help people with learning disabilities or autism to live good lives at home rather than in hospital.

Read more about what the NHS long term plan says about learning disability and autism.

The NHS has created an easy read version of the NHS long term plan.