Welcome to the

Learning Disabilities


The Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory was set up to generate evidence and build understanding of the causes of poor health and health inequalities experienced by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Alongside this we deliver a programme of world class, evidence informed research.

More about us

Health and care experiences

In this short film people with learning disabilities tell us about their experiences of health and health care.


Call for family members to help shape new resources to support young people through transition from youth to adult services


SLDO researchers and Differabled are looking for parents and family carers to share their views via a short questionnaire to help inform new resources to support families of young people on the transition to post-secondary school services. This new project, led by young people who have experienced this transition and parents of young people with learning disabilities and/or autism, aims to better understand the challenges that families experience during this time and the kind of support that would be most helpful.  Find out more about this work and fill in the short questionnaire here

Research for Everyone: Making complex health research easier to understand

Researchers from the University of Glasgow have teamed up with people with learning disabilities to challenge the traditional academic way of communicating about research, with the aim of making important health information easier to understand for as many people as possible. The Research for Everyone project collaborators have translated two health studies published by the University of Glasgow and created new animations, podcasts and infographics to share the research in clear and engaging ways. Find out more about Research for Everyone.

Launch of New eLearning Resourse: 'Understanding PBS'

The Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) Community of Practice for Scotland are launching a unique new resource focused on PBS. This free and accessible online learning resource is the result of a collaboration between the Scottish Social Services Council and the PBS Community of Practice (https://www.scld.org.uk/our-networks/positive-behaviour-support-pbs/)

The new resource will be launched with an online event on 19th April being organised by the Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities. There will be a range of speakers to talk about how PBS can improve quality of life for people with learning disabilities and complex support needs. And there will be an opportunity to see the resource and learn how to access it.  Further details and registration link for the event are available here.

SLDO to become leading research and teaching centre

We are delighted to announce that the Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory (SLDO) and the University Centre for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) are merging. This exciting development will bring together multi-disciplinary researchers to form one of the UK’s largest research centres dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Read more about this here.

New study: 'My Diabetes and Me' - call for participants

Dr Maria Truesdale and colleagues at the University of Ulster are looking for participants in a new study looking health improvement for adults with learning disabilities and Type 2 diabetes. 

The 'My Diabetes and Me' study aims to investigate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of the DESMOND-ID education programme for adults with learning disabilities and type 2 diabetes. The aim of DESMOND-ID is to support adults with learning disabilities and the people who care for them to learn about diabetes and about to stay health and well with Type 2 diabetes. 

Here is an easy read information sheet about the study and how to get involved. If you are interested or you work with or support someone who would like to take part, please get in touch with Maria via email maria.truesdale@glasgow.ac.uk or call 07933 163 937.  

Latest SLDO research

Reports & publications


We publish reports relevant to learning disabilities and autism policy and practice.

View our full list of reports and publications here.

Population profiles

Population characteristics

Number of people


with learning disabilities


with autism


all people

All population information


Percentage of people with very good health


with learning disabilities


with autism


all people

All health information

Housing and accomodation

People with learning disabilities in private households


Rented from council or housing association


Private ownership


Rented privately or living rent free

All housing and accommodation information

Employment and Education

People aged 16 and over with learning disabilities


Long term sick or disabled


in paid employment







All employment and education information


Percentage of people who live with a family


with learning disabilities


with autism


all people

Health and social care spending



Health care spending


Social care spending

Other topics

Country of birth

People born within the UK


with learning disabilities


with autism


all people

Language spoken at home

People speaking Gaelic or Scots


with learning disabilities


with autism


all people


People who are white Scottish


with learning disabilities


with autism


all people