They include environmental, genetic and chromosomal factors.
Before birth, causes can include:
- if the mother has an accident or illness while pregnant
- any situation that contributes to low birth weight
- when something happens to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord)
- how genes develop while the unborn baby grows.
During birth, causes can include:
- trauma to the baby's head
- other trauma or distress
- if the baby does not receive enough oxygen
- premature birth.
After birth, causes can include:
physical trauma to the brain as a result of an accident
- childhood illness and infections
- cancer, a brain tumour or an infection of the central nervous system.
- Find out more about learning disability and its causes and conditions