Psychiatry of Learning Disability

Psychiatry of Learning Disability is a specialty that provides a service to those individuals with mental illnesses who also have a moderate to profound intellectual disability (I.Q <50) or those with a mild intellectual disability (I.Q. <70) if they have a comorbid autism spectrum disorder.  The prevalence of mental illness in individuals with intellectual disabilities has been estimated to be three times that of the general population.  In addition, communication difficulties, genetic factors and comorbid physical illnesses such as epilepsy can combine to make the presentation of mental illness in this population very complex.  Learning Disability Psychiatrists provide a service at community clinics and workshops, residential homes and some larger residential institutions that are being phased out.  They also work as part of a multidisciplinary team that may include specialised Intellectual Disability Nurses, Clinical Psychologists, Occupational Therapists and Social Workers.

Training Pathway

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5
Training Level Medical School Intern Year Foundation Year Basic Specialty Training in Psychiatry Higher Specialist Training in Learning Disability
Duration 4-6 years 1 year 1 year 2-3 years 3 years
Entry Process Graduate or direct entry Entry through the HSE Intern Match Entry through competitive interview Entry based on successful completion of foundation year Entry based on successful completion of Basic Specialty Training
Application Date CAO process opens in November Application process opens in October Application process opens in November Application process opens in November Application process opens in November
Programme Operated by: Undergraduate Universities Intern Networks College of Psychiatrists College of Psychiatrists College of Psychiatrists

The programme is operated and regulated by the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland under the aegis of the Irish Medical Council (IMC). The College of Psychiatrists is the only body recognised by the IMC to provide psychiatry training.

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