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Cognition and learning

Children and young people may require support for learning difficulties if they experience slower progress in their learning compared to their peers, even when appropriate differentiation is provided. A learning difficulty is not the same thing as a learning disability. A specific learning difficulty (SpLD) means that someone has a difference or difficulty with one or more certain parts of learning. Having a SpLD does not mean that children and young people cannot achieve and succeed in learning. However, they may struggle at school and may need to learn in different ways, through additional help.

The most common specific learning difficulties SpLD are:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Dysgraphia

Learning difficulties encompass a broad spectrum of needs, starting with moderate learning difficulties (MLD) and severe learning difficulties (SLD), where children are likely to need assistance across all areas of the curriculum. These difficulties can be accompanied by challenges in mobility and communication. At the other end of the spectrum, there are profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), where children are likely to face severe and intricate learning challenges alongside physical disabilities or sensory impairments.

Useful websites and contacts:

Kent County Council information on Specific Learning Disabilities,4,5

British Dyslexia Association Information about Dyslexia

British Dyslexia Association Information about Dyscalculia

The Dyslexia SPLD Trust support for children with Dyslexia

Dyslexia Help a wealth of information about Dyslexia

ADHD Foundation information on ADHD

ADHD UK information on ADHD

Dyspraxia Foundation information on Dyspraxia

KELSI Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) information from Kent County Council on SEN

Sense information on learning disabilities