Understanding the condition
A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities and is a lifelong disability. Learning disabilities occurs when the brain is still developing either before, during or soon after birth.
A learning disability is different to a learning difficulty which does not affect general intellect. A child’s learning disability can be mild, moderate or severe. A profound and multiple learning disability is when a child experiences a severe learning disability and another disability. Children with profound, multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) need additional support to help them in all areas of life such as eating, communicating, going to the toilet.
Children with learning disabilities may take longer and need additional support in communicating, understanding new information and in developing new skills.
Conditions associated with learning disabilities include:
Challenges faced by students
For a child with a learning disability, difficulties with communication skills can result in feeling alone, frustrated and unable to relate to other children and form friendships. It is also a risk, creating vulnerability if a child is unable to express themselves.
Working with the child and their family/ carers and other professional involved to understand and support methods and tools for communication is vital, from advocating needs such as going to the toilet, talking about feelings - I feel unwell or unhappy - to sharing information about likes/ dislikes/ hopes and desires.
Please click here to find out how to support students with learning disabilities with communication
Information comes at us constantly in everyday life, including school, from signs on the classroom, writing on the board, explanation of the school day’s activities, where to go to for lunch, what a task requires the child to do, or answering your name at register call. Difficulties in understanding information can leave a child with a disability confused, alone and frightened. Difficulties with communication and understanding information could result in a child misinterpreting tasks and over time, if not supported, they may under achieve in school. With challenges in learning new skills, if they are not supported to find communication methods and tools early and strategies for understanding information, we are simply adding additional barriers for them.
Learning new skills
Anxiety and depression