Children with learning difficulties face higher probability of poor mental health

The increased risk of mental health problems among children with learning disabilities may be the result of their exposure to poverty and social exclusion rather than their condition in some cases, according to research.

The study, The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents with Learning Disabilities in Britain, carried out by the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, found that the increased risk of mental illness was not always caused by a young person’s learning disability but may be due to their exposure to greater poverty and social exclusion than non-disabled children.

Children with learning difficulties were six times more likely to have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder than other children in the UK, the study found.

The research, which looked at the experiences of over 18,000 children aged between 5 and 15 years old, found that one in three children with learning difficulties are likely to have a mother with mental health needs and nearly half are living in poverty.

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