Adult Learning Disability Diagnosis: I'm not really... - Mencap


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Adult Learning Disability Diagnosis

lmcgol profile image

I'm not really sure where to begin, for many years (from when i was in secondary school i suppose) I always thought I was a bit different with learning and doing things but its come more to a head now im that bit older (34 now) and I find I'm not understanding a lot of things mentally and physically etc. I returned to Uni this past year and even though I am doing ok there I find sometimes i dont understand things that are being said either in an education setting or a friends setting and i find myself staying quiet and finding it hard to make friends. I feel embarassed to talk to someone about all this even my GP (not that I can get to see one with Covid happening), has anyone else felt like and had a late diagnosis and if so how did you go about bringing it up with a GP?



6 Replies

Hi Lisa I struggled at school as well, and I can remember the same feeling as you describe my classmates seemed to get what was being said but it was not making any sense to me. I was good at mental maths but put it on paper and I was rubbish really weird. I also never got grammar no idea why either. Do you have an inclination of what you think the issue is ? I would write to your GP if you can’t get an appointment and put all your concerns in your letter and how you struggled as a youngster etc etc I wish you luck. There really is no need to be embarrassed tell your go everything that you think is relevant and hopefully we can refer you to the appropriate people.

Hi, my adult daughter was referred to a local authority psychologist after an appointment with a sympathetic GP. She was then able to be recognised as having learning disability and now has extra support. There were many people in her life who just thought she was lazy or a day dreamer. She could come across as rude or belligerent where she couldn't explain herself well. It was only really close family and friends who knew she needed help.

That GP turned her life around. I know it's not easy to get some GP's on board but maybe try and find out which GP deals with the yearly assessments for people with learning disabilities, who may be more sympathetic.

The university may also be of help and may well be worth looking in to as they have the means to give extra assistance to struggling students, from laptops with the necessary software to note takers etc.

Due to Covid it isnt an easy time to find help but don't give up.

Wishing you all the best

Hi there. I had the same issues all of my life. Then my two sons first one was diagnosed with severe autism at almost 7 years old then years later my 14 year old also was diagnosed with autism. So I started to see why and why I felt the same as you are feeling. I speak 5 languages, my GP then Pcychologist said no there’s nothing wrong with you you speak all those languages therefore you can’t have a learning disability you can’t be autistic.

Anyway I did an assessment almost 3 years ago age 53 and it was such a relief 🥲 having that diagnosis of autism. I do feel a better about it. I don’t use it as an excuse for the way I talk to people or how I struggle understanding some language or how to read something or how I perceive things that I am told or read, but I feel so much better and now I no longer feel embarrassed or worried about how I speak Or understand what I am told or read. I accept me more now.

So speak to your GP. If he or she dismisses you don’t take that for a no. Ask for an assessment. Take care. ❤️

hi lisa lmcgol you shoudnt be embarased.i know of people (not directly) in their eighties getting diagnosed with aspergers,my dad was informally diagnosed in his early sixties,and my mums sister who died at 64 very likely had ASD-was looking into getting a ASD assessment just before she died-the national autistic society had sent her some information and sheets to fill in to take to her doctor so your definately not to late or old to see someone about this-its more common in todays adults as the asperger type of autism wasnt commonly used in the nineties,and now adults are finally getting assessed,its made even more harder for ladies as it can appear different to what has been researched in the past (it was mostly done on males).

in the UK, the ICD is mainly used which shows that learning disability is an intellectual disability, the DSM which is used by just a few specialists in the UK states that learning disability is a non intellectual difficulty like dyslexia,dysgraphia, dyscalculia, ADHD etc so theyre very different.

this is learning disability:

this is learning difficulty:

this is ASC/ASD:

as your at a uni (i dont know how these things work and even more so wit h online unis), your best off seeing if you can get an appointment with their educational psych-it may or may not cost,and also be aware you can access the DSA (disabled students allowance) ive had one support staff use it for things thatd help her severe anxiety and one support staff some years ago use it for things that woud help her dyslexia,i dont know if you need to be diagnosed first though but its worth looking into.

its worth having a go on the aspie quiz-

if going ahead with an appointment,write all your history down,one of my support staff also took a book called aspergirls with her as she said she related to it so much,she had highlighted the bits she related to.

also, check your GP to see if they offer online services, as my GP surgery offers a platform called 'ask my GP' which is just like having private messaging but with your GP, and you can send them photos of whatever is wrong if its something that shows up, or video chat, usually you can get chatting to them that day instead of waiting weeks for an appointment.

Sarah_Mencap profile image

hello lmcgol

Please don't be embarrassed to ask about this. It is ok to find it hard (lots of people find talking about this sort of thing difficult).

Your GP is probably the best starting point. They really are there for just this sort of thing, and they would want to know how you are feeling.

It can be tricky seeing a GP face to face at the moment, but do call them up and see how they can help. Many GPs are going appointments by phone or online, would this be good for you?

If it helps, make a list of all things you want to mention, and any questions you have. This can make you feel a bit more confident about talking to them.

Is there anyone who can help you with this? Any friend or family who could come a long with you if you are worried (if that is allowed), or who could help you make a list?

There are some great posts on here that cover most of things. One mentions your university - that is a great idea too. They will have some people who can give advice and support you if you are finding learning hard.

Please don't give up on this. You deserve to know what is going on and to get the right support.

Best wishes


I am wondering wether stress is causing this to you. I have found that stress affected one of my boys and he has some autism. So you must manage your stress levels . Are you getting enough sleep? That can also be a trigger and whether you are suffering from abdominal / stomach pain. Really important you do explain to your GP you may have something you are not aware of . I think it’s important you are able to explain to your GP what it is and when this affects you . The danger is you may be seeing only a part of the symptoms .

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