Cognition and Learning
Code of practice 2015
6.30 Support for learning difficulties may be required when children and young people learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation. Learning difficulties cover a wide range of needs, including moderate learning difficulties (MLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD), where children are likely to need support in all areas of the curriculum and associated difficulties with mobility and communication, through to profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), where children are likely to have severe and complex learning difficulties as well as a physical disability or sensory impairment.
6.31 Specific learning difficulties (SpLD), affect one or more specific aspects of learning. This encompasses a range of conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.
1. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a complex condition can seriously affect a child’s concentration, behaviour and learning.
A child with ADHD will often feel easily bored, may be distracted by unimportant sounds and sights, be impulsive and find it hard to sit still. This impacts on their learning as they can find it very hard to concentrate for the periods of time needed to complete tasks. Consequently, the work that they produce may not necessarily reflect their true ability. Further information can be found at: www.addiss.co.uk
2. Moderate Learning Difficulty (MLD)
Pupils with MLDs will have attainments significantly below expected levels in most areas of the curriculum despite appropriate interventions. Their needs will not be able to be met by normal differentiation and the flexibilities of the National Curriculum. They should only be recorded as MLD if additional educational provision is being made to help them to access the curriculum. Pupils with MLDs have much greater difficulty than their peers in acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills and in understanding concepts.
They may also have an associated speech and language delay, low self-esteem, low levels of concentration and under-developed social skills.
3. Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty (PMLD)
Pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties have complex learning needs. In addition to very severe learning difficulties, pupils have other significant difficulties such as physical disabilities, sensory impairment or a severe medical condition.
Pupils require a high level of adult support, both for their learning needs and also for their personal care. They are likely to need sensory stimulation and a curriculum broken down into very small steps.
Some pupils communicate by gesture, eye pointing or symbols, others by very simple language.
4. Specific Learning Difficulty (SLD)
Pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties (SLD) have significant intellectual or cognitive impairments.
This has a major effect on their ability to participate in the school curriculum without support. They may also have difficulties in mobility and co-ordination, communication and perception and the acquisition of self-help skills.
Pupils with severe learning difficulties will need support in all areas of the curriculum. They may also require teaching of self-help, independence and social skills. Some pupils may use sign and symbols but most will be able to hold simple conversations. They may have difficulties with one or more aspects of learning.
This includes a range of conditions such as dyslexia (difficulties with reading and spelling); dyscalculia (maths); dyspraxia (co-ordination) and dysgraphia.
Pupils with dyscalculia have difficulty in acquiring mathematical skills. Pupils may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers and have problems learning number facts and procedures. Further information can be found at: http://www.ncld.org/types-learningdisabilities/dyscalculia
People with dysgraphia are affected by an extreme difficulty with fine motor skills and can have trouble organizing letters, numbers and words on a line or page.
This can result partly from:
• Visual-spatial difficulties: trouble processing what the eye sees
• Language processing difficulty: trouble processing and making sense of what the ear hears.
Further information can be found at: http://dysgraphia.org.uk
Pupils with dyslexia have a marked and persistent difficulty in learning to read, write and spell, despite progress in other areas. Pupils may have poor reading comprehension, handwriting and punctuation.
They may also have difficulties in concentration and organisation, and in remembering sequences of words. They may mispronounce common words or reverse letters and sounds in words.
Further information can be found at: http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk
Pupils with dyspraxia are affected by an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement, often appearing clumsy.
Gross and fine motor skills are hard to learn and difficult to retain and generalise. Pupils may have poor balance and coordination and may be hesitant in many actions (running, skipping, hopping, holding a pencil, doing jigsaws, etc). Their articulation may also be immature and their language late to develop. They may also have poor awareness of body position and poor social skills.
Further information can be found at: http://www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk