So your next patient has a learning disability? A guide for physios not specialising in learning disabilities

Simple but practical advice for physiotherapists on how to manage appointments for people with learning disabilities.



A learning disability is a significant, lifelong condition that started before adulthood, that affected the person’s development and which means they need help to understand new or complex information, learn new skills and cope independently.

The majority of people with a learning disability can successfully access mainstream physiotherapy services when reasonable adjustments are made.

The leaflet below aims to give some simple but practical advice/suggestions to mainstream physiotherapists on how to manage their appointments for people with learning disabilities.

A person with a learning disability has individual needs like everyone else, however, the following suggestions may be helpful when preparing for your appointment. Try to find out in advance:

  • Relevant medical history - they might not be able to remember or explain all the details you need
  • Information relating to the particular condition or syndrome they may have
  • If the person has a Health Action Plan, Health Passport or communication passport and request a copy
  • If the person has specific likes or dislikes, which may affect the appointment.