Editorials

Children with psychiatric disorders and learning disabilities

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7494.742 (Published 31 March 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:742
  1. Emily Simonoff, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry ([email protected])
  1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London

    Their needs extend beyond the provisions in national service framework

    Global learning disabilities, or mental retardation as it is still referred to in the International Classification of Diseases, occur in at least 3% of the population. Classification systems vary in terminology, but most distinguish on the basis of the severity of the learning disability. In the United Kingdom, children with milder degrees of learning disabilities are likely to be educated in mainstream schools and are often physically well. Children with more severe learning disabilities may attend special schools and frequently have associated medical disorders and sensory impairments, as either a cause or a correlate of the learning disabilities. Learning disabilities are life long and reduce life chances of employment and independent living.

    Psychiatric disorders are two to four times as common in children with learning disabilities, with 30-50% having a mental disorder.1 While all psychiatric disorders are over-represented in children with learning disabilities, autism and hyperkinetic disorder are particularly increased.2 The relation between autism and low intelligence quotient has long been recognised, but the eightfold increase in …

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