Learning Difficulty

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A learning difficulty is a term used to describe children and young people who struggle in acquiring, retaining, organising and using skills in the areas of listening, speaking, reasoning, reading, spelling, writing, and mathematics. These children and young people may also experience difficulties in the areas of visual and auditory perception, motor skills planning, processing skills, memory, mood (anxiety and depression) and attention.

The term learning difficulty is not a formal diagnosis, however it is commonly used in school environments to describe children struggling to learn in the classroom in a number of areas.  The term learning disability is also not a formal diagnosis but can sometimes be used to describe a more persistent form of learning difficulty.

Learning difficulties are not caused by internal factors such as intelligence, sensory impairment, physical impairment, medical conditions or other developmental delays, however can often be attributed to external factors including schooling, home environment, opportunities and relationships.

Children and young people with learning difficulties or disabilities can display some of the following characteristics:

  • slower processing of information presented in class;
  • poorer retention of facts and processes;
  • inconsistent performance during class activities and assessments; and/or
  • lower self-esteem and confidence related to learning.

Children and young people experiencing difficulty with learning in school and at home may be referred for formal assessment of their difficulties. The terms learning difficulty and learning disability are not formal diagnoses and will rarely appear in an assessment report, but are umbrella terms to describe global difficulties in learning. A formal diagnosis of a specific learning disorder may be mentioned in a report from a Psychologist, following a comprehensive assessment and consideration of learning difficulties.

How Can I help my child?

Children and young people with difficulties in learning require assessment in the first instance to understand what may be contributing to these challenges to plan the best way of providing assistance.

At home you can support your child’s learning by:

    • Being present for your child’s learning (ask about the school day, look at work completed, assist with homework);
    • Communicate regularly with your child’s teacher to understand what is happening in the classroom for your child;
    • Trust your instincts and seek help if you are concerned; and
    • Speak with your child about their learning and how they are coping with this.

How Can Learning Links Help?

Learning Links offers a range of services that can help children with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Assessments – Learning Links’ Psychologists conduct assessments to evaluate learning and can make a formal diagnosis of a specific learning disorder.  Read more >

Specialist Tutoring – Learning Links’ Specialist Educators provide individualised programs to support the development of literacy and numeracy skills using engaging resources and games.  Read more >

Speech Therapy – Learning Links’ Speech Pathologists support children’s development of receptive and expressive language. Read more >

Occupational Therapy – Learning Links’ Occupational Therapists support children’s development of fine motor skills and sensory processing.  Read more >

Psychological Therapy – Children with learning difficulties often experience low self-esteem and anxiety as a result of their experiences with learning. Learning Links’ Psychologists can support children and help with strategies and ways to cope.  Read more >