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Learning disability

Review article
Authors Christopher Gillberg
Henrik Söderström
Published in Lancet
Volume 362
Issue 9386
Pages 811-821
ISSN 1474-547X
Publication year 2003
Published at Institute for the Health of Women and Children, Dept of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Pages 811-821
Language en
Keywords Adolescent, Adult, Child, Female, Humans, Learning Disorders, Diagnosis, Etiology, Therapy, Male
Subject categories Child and adolescent psychiatry


Learning disability is common, affecting 1-2.5% of the general population in the Western world, and encompasses many different conditions. It usually leads to major functional impairment and lifelong need for support and interventions, not the least important of which are medical and health-care services. Rapid progress is being made in the understanding of the cause and pathogenesis of many learning disability syndromes, and these advances are likely to improve targeted interventions in the next decade. Many countries have abolished a learning disability specialty for medical professionals, but there is a great need to revive this niche of medical knowledge. We know little about quality of life and effects on families of people with learning disability, and research is needed to address these issues.

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