Support and opportunities for adults with learning disabilities in Scotland

People with learning disabilities have much to offer Scotland. They are a large group of people who come from a variety of diverse backgrounds across the country. At school, children with learning disabilities and their families receive additional support to meet their needs and aspirations. But the transition to adulthood and beyond is often not straightforward.

Like all of us, adults with learning disabilities sometimes need support to reach their full potential. But they often feel left behind and invisible in a society that is largely unaware of the barriers they face and potential they have to offer.

The Fraser of Allander Institute is delighted to embark on this long-term project aiming to shine a light on the support systems in place for adults with learning disabilities in Scotland – both from government and wider society. This programme is part of the Institute’s long history of examining the societal and economic implications of public life in Scotland.

This project could not be more timely, as the Scottish Government aims to build an inclusive, wellbeing economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Their approach to supporting adults with learning disabilities can be seen as a bellwether of how serious their intent is.

Our research aims to build on the large body of work by the many brilliant organisations and people in Scotland who already report on this issue.

Throughout our work we will be engaging with as many people as we can to learn and reflect on expertise beyond our own. If you want to be one of those people, we will always be happy to hear from you. Our contact information can be found at the bottom of this page.

Latest Articles

Transitions to adulthood Podcast

Improving transitions to adulthood

In this podcast, we explore how young people with learning disabilities or other additional support needs could be better supported as they transition out of the education system and into adulthood. We also have a fascinating conversation with five young people who have recently gone through the process themselves.

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Scottish-Parliament-sunrise Article

Learning disabilities: Priorities for the next Parliament

With the 2021 Scottish Parliament election on the horizon, the Fraser of Allander Institute held a webinar with stakeholders to discuss the priorities that people with learning disabilities have for the next Parliament. Here are some of the key takeaways.

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The challenges of estimating Scotland’s learning disabled population and why it matters

It is concerning that we do not know how many people in Scotland live with a learning disability. Why is this the case, what is the impact of this lack of data, and what could be done? This article is part of the Fraser of Allander’s programme of work looking at support and opportunities for people with learning disabilities in Scotland.

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Picture of Emma Congreve, principal fellow at the Fraser of Allander Institute

Emma Congreve

Knowledge Exchange Fellow​

Emma Congreve leads the Institute’s work on poverty, inequality and inclusive growth.

Emma was previously a senior economist at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and an economic adviser within the Scottish Government. Emma is an expert in economic policy relating to low income households. She also has a background in local government finance and environmental and agricultural economic policy.

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Picture of Graeme Roy, director of the Fraser of Allander Institute

Graeme Roy


Graeme re-joined Strathclyde in 2016 after 8 years in the Scottish Government.

Graeme is the Head of the Economics Department and Director of the FAI. He leads on the knowledge exchange activities of the Institute and is also a member of various public and private sector committees and advisory boards.

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Picture of Rob Watts

Rob Watts

Knowledge Exchange Associate

Rob joined the Institute in 2019, working in the knowledge exchange team whilst completing his MSc in Applied Economics at Strathclyde University.

He has worked on a variety of projects involving trade analysis, modelling and business performance assessment.

In 2020, Rob joined the Institute full time to drive forward our project studying the economic outcomes for adults with learning disabilities in Scotland.

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