Specific learning difficulties (SpLD) is an umbrella term for a certain group of learning difficulties.
These difficulties can occur alone or together in people across all ages. People can be affected in a range from mild to severe.
Children and young people with specific learning difficulties may experience particular difficulties in learning to:
- use and understand numbers
- they often don’t do as well in these areas, despite extra help.
They may perform well in other areas of learning of the curriculum. Some children may have more than one SpLD.
They may also experience problems with:
- how quickly they're able to process information
- remembering things
- organising themselves
- their physical co-ordination
- phonological awareness - the sound structure of words.
Those with specific learning difficulties benefit from high quality, inclusive teaching and appropriate support, enabling them to minimise their weaknesses and use their strengths.
There's a range of strategies to help children and young people manage their needs. These vary according to how severe the difficulties are. The strategies also vary in how effective they are from person to person.
In an average classroom or setting there will be a number of children and young people who have SpLD, it's very unlikely your child will be the only one.
Who to contact
If you're concerned about your child's progress, speak to your child's teacher. If you need further information, arrange an appointment with the school's Special Needs Co-ordinator or SENCO. Your child’s teacher can tell you who this is.
If you'd like someone to support you when meeting the school, contact SENDIASS, an impartial information service for parents, carers and young persons (aged 0-25 years).
There's also the SEND Specialist Advice and Support team, which includes Specific Learning Difficulties teachers who can offer outreach support to schools for named pupils with persistent difficulties.
It's a ‘high needs’ funded service which can be accessed by schools. Many learners show signs of specific learning difficulties, it's not necessary for this to be formally assessed outside school in order to access support.
The SpLD Specialist Teacher Outreach Service supports schools by giving advice, training school staff and modelling appropriate teaching. No diagnosis is needed for schools to get this, but only schools can request the service, usually via the SENCO. Find out more about the service with our booklet.