A child with a general learning difficulty or disability may find it more difficult to learn, understand, communicate and carry out activities of daily living compared to other children of the same age.
The degree of difficulty or disability can vary greatly and may not always be obvious to parents or carers.
Learning difficulties are generally categorised by professionals into:
- moderate (MLD)
- severe (SLD)
- profound and multiple (PMLD)
- Specific Learning Difficulty (SPLD)
Children with significant learning difficulties or disabilities may have global developmental delay and may require specialist support to help them learn new skills.
Some children may have a specific learning difficulty which only affects some areas of learning such as dyslexia or dyspraxia.
Children with a general learning difficulty or disability are not always diagnosed. In some cases there may be genetic factors or other complications at birth or after birth. However, for many children, the cause of their difficulties is never known.
Learning difficulties are also often associated with other disabilities or disorders which can be diagnosed at different stages of a child’s life. These children may be identified as they fail to reach age-appropriate milestones in particular areas of development.
The NHS website has further information on learning difficulties and disabilities including diagnosis.