Learning disabilities

Readable and well-researched information for the public


This webpage provides information, not advice. You should read our full disclaimer before reading further.

This information reflects the best available evidence at the time of writing. We aim to review our mental health information every three years, and update critical changes more regularly.

©  November 2015 Royal College of Psychiatrists 

Helping people with communications and learning disabilities understand their world

Many people understand pictures better than words.

Books Beyond Words tell powerful stories just in pictures to help people with learning disabilities cope with some of life's biggest challenges. At the back of each book, there is a written storyline, with guidelines and a range of resources for supporters and professionals.

The titles cover:

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Physical health
  • Mental health and trauma
  • Health screening
  • Lifestyle
  • Using services
  • Criminal Justice System 

Further details of all the titles or a catalogue. Tel: + 44 (020) 7492 2559 or email: admin@booksbeyondwords.co.uk

The Royal College of Psychiatrists' Faculty of the Psychiatry of Learning Disability and the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust have produced a new series of very accessible information for people with mental health problems and learning disabilities. All these materials have been written and tested with people with learning disabilities and their carers.

These leaflets can be easily printed off from this page. The help and support section at the end of each leaflet can be completed by the person being given this information, to include contact details of their GP, Psychiatrist, Community Nurse or any other professional involved in their care.

This series of leaflets was produced by 2gether NHS Foundation Trust and A Picture of Health website developers and funded by the South West Strategic Health Authority. The text is very close to the leaflets above (with a few minor changes) with permission of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The pictures are thanks to the Cotswold Grange, Cheltenham and Stroud Drop in Service actors group. Thanks also to the Bitton Village Community Theatre in South Gloucestershire.


Kingston Easy Read Info Group

This leaflet was produced by Professor Mohamed Abdel-Mawgoud and Nicky Chibah, Speech & Language Therapy Assistant, Your Healthcare Community Interest Group, adapted from the leaflets produced by the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, Easy to read treatment plan by Unwin and Deb, University of Birmingham 2006, and the British National Formulary 2012.

Children and young people

  • Specific learning difficulties: what parents and teachers need to know The child with general learning disability : what parents and teachers need to know Understanding autism and Asperger's syndrome : what parents and teachers need to know

Chinese translations


Information for the public

  • Books Beyond Words :Series of picture books for use by people with learning disabilities to make communication easier and allow for discussion.

Information for professionals

See also

We would welcome any feedback on these leaflets. Please email dhart@rcpsych.ac.uk at the College.


We are grateful to:

  • Dr Sab Bhaumik (former chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Faculty of Learning Disability)
  • Louise Talbott and Jane Parr (speech and language therapists)
  • Dr Shweta Gangavati, Dr Abdul Shaikh, Dr Avinash Hiremath, Dr Satheesh Gangadhara, Dr Paul Winterbottom and Dr Ray Jacques
  • Members of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' user and carer group.