Learning Disability and Neurodivergence

This page outlines the work we are doing at the learning disability and neurodiversity board to support people who have a learning disability and / or are neurodivergent.

It is our aspiration that, by 2030, Leeds will be a fair, open, and welcoming city. It will be a place where everyone has an equal chance to live their life successfully and realise their potential. Leeds will be a healthy and caring city for all ages, where people are supported by high-quality services to live full, active, and independent lives. This is particularly important for people with learning disabilities and neurodivergence as they are much more likely than the wider population to experience illness and inequality.

Learning disability can be defined as:

“…a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example, household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life. People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complicated information and interact with other people.” (Mencap, 2022).

Neurodivergence can be defined as:

“…a word that describes someone who has a condition that affects how they think and process information and sensory input such as sound, light, and smell. It is a broad term, used to describe the many and varying ways in which human brains are wired.  This includes people who are: autistic, have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), are Dyslexic (words), Dyspraxic (movement), Dysphasic (language), Dyscalculic (numbers), or have Tourette’s syndrome. (Leeds Autism AIM and Autistic UK, 2022).

The Learning Disability and Neurodiversity Population Board brings together partners from across Leeds. This will help us tailor better care and support for individuals and their carers, design more joined-up and sustainable health and care services and make better use of public resources to the benefit of people with a learning disability or who are neurodivergent.

Outcomes for the learning disability and neurodiversity population board

The ambition of our learning disability and neurodivergence work in Leeds is that we will improve the lives of people with a learning disability or who are neurodivergent as well as the lives of their carers, family, and friends. The aim is for people in this population to experience health and care that reflects these statements:

  • I live well, defined by what matters to me.
  • I receive high-quality, accessible, person-centred care and support.
  • I am included in all decisions about my life.

These are our identified outcomes. By setting these clear goals, that are focused on how services impact the people they serve, the board is able to better track whether we’re really doing the right thing for the people using these services.


Insight review

We have worked with our partners to review the feedback (insight) we already have about people’s experience of mental health and mental health services. This will help us understand what we already know. You can read the report below:

Download the learning disability and neurodivergence insight report (Microsoft Word version)

Learning disability and neurodivergence – Insight report (797KB)

In order to view PDF documents you will need Adobe PDF Reader


Public involvement workshop

We held a public involvement workshop to check the findings of our insight report, review our identified outcomes (as above), and discuss our approach to public involvement on the board.


Download the notes from the learning disability and neurodivergence public involvement workshop (Microsoft Word version)


Download the learning disability and neurodivergence public involvement workshop slides (PowerPoint)


People’s experience of services

We always want to hear about your experiences of using services, it helps us know what’s working, and where things could be improved.

There are a number of ways you can tell us about your experiences:

‘How does it feel for me?’ project by Healthwatch Leeds

Get involved in sharing your experiences by video or written testimony. Your feedback will be shared with senior decision-makers in Leeds. See people’s experiences and find out more by visiting:  https://healthwatchleeds.co.uk/our-work/how-does-it-feel-for-me/

Share your story on Care Opinion

Care Opinion is an independent place where you can share your experience of health or care services, and help make them better for everyone. You can share your own story on Care Opinion. Say what was good and what could have been better.

Find out more and tell your story

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