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General cognition and learning difficulties

Behaviours you might notice if a child or young person has a general learning difficulty:

  • Levels of attainment in some areas may be lower than age-related expectation
  • Some difficulty in acquiring early development skills or language, literacy and numeracy skills
  • Learning may progress at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation
  • Poor self-esteem may lead to social and emotional regulating differences
  • Poor concentration and behavioural differences can arise as a consequence of needs
  • Frustration due to difficulties with participating in learning.
Additional strategies to support children who continue to work below age related expectations.

There are a range of sources of information which can be used in consultation. Use classroom observations and informal assessments to identify the areas of need. Talk with the child or young person.

Model use of open-ended simple statements such as ‘I wonder… or what if’ rather than questions. Give clear and simple instructions. Break down longer instructions and give them one at a time.

Use visual timetables, visual cues and prompts. These could include objects, pictures, photos, symbols, choice boards, sequences.

Develop ‘Social Stories’.

Give time to process information before a response is needed.

Pre-teach e.g. provision of a Teaching Assistant to help prepare the child or young person for the new topic.

Make explicit links to prior learning.

Share next steps – so the child or young person knows what to expect.

Use differentiated resources – teach the curriculum appropriate to the development of the child or young person. For example, a year five child may be accessing year one objectives in the same context.

Use meaningful strategies to boost self-esteem and confidence.

Provide specific meaningful praise and feedback. When a child or young person persists and or achieves something new, for example.

Some children and young people may have an uneven profile. Tailor differentiation to take account of difficulties and strengths.

Provide specific meaningful praise and feedback. When a child or young person persists and or achieves something new, for example.

Place emphasis on self-actualisation. Use activities daily which develop independent learning skills.

Support children and young people to develop their self-esteem. Recognise and reinforce strengths and successes.

Last updated 3 August 2021

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