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Specific Learning Difficulties

Definition of Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD)


‘Specific Learning Difficulties’ (SpLD) is an overarching term for a number of identifiable/associated learning difficulties which may manifest across all ability ranges and with variable severity or significance and are best thought of as a continuum, not distinct categories with clear cut-off points. Specific leaning difficulties also include dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyspraxia (also known as Developmental Co-ordination Disorder).


Children and young people with specific learning difficulties may experience persistent difficulties in learning to read, write, spell or manipulate numbers to the extent that their performance in these areas is below their performance in other areas, despite appropriate learning opportunities and additional educational provision.


They may also experience problems with their speed of processing information, with working memory, sequencing, organisational skills, phonological awareness and co-ordination. Those affected by specific learning difficulties may underachieve within the education system unless they receive appropriate support enabling them to minimise their weaknesses and utilise their strengths.


A good indication of the severity and persistence of specific learning difficulties can be gained by examining how the individual responds or has responded to well-founded intervention (Rose Report, 2009).


The SpLD Outreach Service aims to enhance the capacity of schools to promote the learning, achievement and well-being of children and young people with SpLD.