Learning Disability
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This term covers a wide range of developmental learning problems. Children with these difficulties may be described as having global developmental delay. This can occur on its own or with other problems such as hearing, vision or physical problems. Some children may have severe multiple developmental difficulties and this is often means they have complex needs.


Every child with learning disability is different. Like with all children, no two children are the same. 


The cause of learning disabilities may be unknown or it may be related to a syndrome. 


The difficulties that can arise through having learning disabilities can include –

  • Eating and drinking problems
  • Significantly delayed communication skills
  • Poor memory
  • Problems with understanding and learning new skills

Children with learning disabilities may attend special school or be included in mainstream education. This often depends on the severity and complexity of their learning disability. Children with a learning disability will usually have a Health and Education Care Plan.


Multi-disciplinary working is very important when working with these children.


Speech and Language therapists can help children with learning disabilities by –

  • Having an in-depth knowledge of early communication development they can assess a child’s individual needs
  • Advise staff and parents on appropriate play and early communication stages and how to help develop these skills
  • Giving therapy to work on the understanding and use of language
  • Devising appropriate activities to encourage eye contact, listening and attention skills
  • Understanding and implementing different forms of communication e.g. signing and symbols if necessary
  • Managing eating and drinking difficulties
  • Training staff and parents