Learning difficulties is an umbrella term to cover a wide range of learning challenges. It is important to note that they are nothing to do with a person’s intelligence (IQ).
Many people use the term synonymously with dyslexia, but it is now more widely accepted that dyslexia, is only one of a group of learning difficulties (which also includes dyspraxia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia).
Learning difficulties are neurological in origin and are evident in those who have difficulties acquiring knowledge or skills. They differ in severity and can co-exist.
It is estimated that up to 30% of young people in schools today have some degree of learning difficulty. They are evident with children who may have difficulties with reading, spelling, comprehension, writing, mathematics, language skills, organisational skills, perception, concentration, processing speed, emotional regulation or motor planning.
Acquiring news skills, such as learning to read or write, require a strong and secure foundation. Each new skill builds upon previous a one. If the body and/or brain has not made the ‘right connections’ or there are gaps or immaturities in the foundations, learning difficulties will be evident. A majority of children with learning difficulties have challenges with integrating their senses. Close links have also been found with learning difficulties and retained primitive reflexes. Primitive reflexes play a crucial role in an infant but if they are not inhibited as a child grows it can have a serious impact on a child’s learning and development.
Research has shown that early support and intervention is the most effective way to overcome learning challenges.