Specific learning difficulties is an overarching term for a number of associated learning difficulties which can appear across all ability ranges and with varying severity or significance. These may include difficulty in learning to read, write, spell or manipulate numbers or problems with the speed of processing information, memory or coordination.
The use of the term specific learning difficulties (SpLD) varies according to the local authority. In North Yorkshire Children and Young People's Service (CYPS) we use the term to address the needs of pupils who have dyslexia, dyscalculia, developmental coordination disorder (including coordination difficulties not caused by neurological impairment) and dysgraphia. These conditions manifest across all ability ranges, with variable severity or significance, and are best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category with clear cut-off points.
Children and young people with SpLD may face challenges to learn to read, write, spell and/or manipulate numbers to the extent that their performance in these areas is below their skills in others, despite having appropriate learning opportunities. They may also experience problems with the speed of processing information, working memory, organisational skills, and coordination.
While acknowledging that the clustering of selected learning difficulties can help to define a specific learning difficulty, this can lead to lowered expectations (Lamb 2009). The authority is concerned that identifiable functional and learning targets are established which are based on individual differences rather than diagnostic criteria which can lead to prescriptive educational programmes that focus on developmental conditions. The following definitions are used to focus our services.
- Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)
Enhanced Mainstream Schools
There is a network of seven enhanced mainstream schools for Specific Learning Difficulties link to EMS SpLD across North Yorkshire.
Specific Learning Difficulties Guidance - This guidance is intended to provide schools with guidance and information to help remove barriers to learning for children and young people with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD). This document replace the Dyslexia handbook.