Learning disability psychiatrists are specialists who deal with patients who have mental problems associated with a learning disability, such as emotional and behavioural disorders. Such a disorder will not only affect a person’s ability to learn educationally but will also have an effect upon their ability to communicate with other people.

It can also lead to conditions such as epilepsy. This is a specialist area in which the type of patients will vary as will the conditions that are dealt with. Work may be conducted in general hospitals, but will typically be done in places like clinics, community care centres and family residences. There is the possibility of conducting your own research into learning disabilities, and the chance that such work will be published in journals and such.

Work activities

Typical work activities a learning disability psychiatrist would need to carry out include:

  • Work as part of a team to provide a thorough support group for patients.
  • Working with patients and their family members.
  • Use your broad knowledge of psychological issues to diagnose patient behaviours and disorders.
  • Recommend the best course of action to help patients deal their disability
  • Create an environment in which patients feel that they can express their inner problems.
  • Put clients at ease.
  • Keep records of sessions in order to keep track of how patient treatment is developing.
  • Conduct research into the area of learning disability.
  • Work in hospitals, clinics and possibly in family homes.
  • Work for the public service or a private clinic.
  • Be non-judgemental when conducting psychiatric sessions.
  • Uphold a certain level of discretion between you and the patient.
  • Deal with emotional problems and mental illnesses.
  • Work with other professionals and report to supervisors if concerned about a patient.

Essential skills

  • Desire to help people maintain and overcome their psychological problems.
  • Able to work with people who have mental illnesses and offer reassurance to family members.
  • Work as an individual and as part of a support group.
  • Cope with worrying and sometimes uncertain issues.
  • Be theoretical in your approach to diagnosing and treating patients.
  • Communicate well with patients from varying backgrounds.
  • Use your knowledge of learning disability psychology to conduct research.
  • Calm manner when dealing with sometimes disturbing issues.
  • Trusting nature in order to prescribe patients with medication.
  • Professional manner.