Does Your Loved One Have Learning Difficulties? Here’s what You Can Do

A learning difficulty can be a challenge for the whole family. We look at some methods that can help make life easier.

What is a learning difficulty?

A learning difficulty normally refers to a specific problem that does not mean reduced intellectual function. Some high-achieving individuals may have to cope with learning difficulties, which include dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

With a learning disability, by contrast, the person will have a reduced intellectual ability and be challenged across a whole range of daily activities.

What problems can arise?

Someone with a learning difficulty may find processing information difficult. They may find it hard to concentrate, spell or read, and may struggle with learning new skills.

People with learning difficulties in London are well served by specialists such as the Liaise group, which offers a range of solutions.

Therapies on offer

Individuals may access occupational therapy, speech and language therapy or physiotherapy to improve communication, attention, memory, learning and physical well-being. Your GP or Health Visitor may make a referral.

Positive behaviour support (PBS)

Positive behaviour support staff work alongside support workers. It is a therapy based on principles of applied behaviour analysis, (ABA) to improve not only behaviour but also quality of life for individuals and their families, helping to improve social, communication and living skills and behaviour in people.

Parent training programmes

These programmes assist in finding ways to improve your child’s attention.

Social skills training

Social skills training involves your loved one taking part in role-play situations.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

CBT helps you to manage the subject’s mood by altering the way they think.

Mind mapping

This is a method of clarifying thought and planning written work. Content is displayed visually.

Helpful technology

Software must be stimulating to engage with the user. Colours, pictures, symbols and animation can help individuals with communication.

You could investigate text-to-speech options, or if using a mouse or standard keyboard is difficult, there are adaptations that can help. Touchscreens are useful for those who find it simpler to point at things, while magnification software enhances visibility. E-books can be suitable for dyslexic readers.

Education and learning difficulties

The following suggestions are for carers in order to encourage participation in learning:

– Encourage your loved one to participate.
– Break down tasks into smaller steps.
– Use the learner’s own words and language when engaging with a task, providing simple clear instructions
– Deal with any emotional issues that prevent learning.
– Encourage asking for help, and don’t deal with it as a sign of failure.

Teaching and support staff in schools and institutions can enable those with learning difficulties in London and elsewhere to build on their experience and develop new skills and self-confidence.

To assist children with learning difficulties, schools should offer:

– A well-equipped sensory room.
– Visual signage to help children with processing difficulties.
– Subtle colour schemes to create calm environments.
– Structured learning for the individual and care programmes.
– Focus on developing independence and social skills.

With so many measures designed to help those affected throughout their daily life, the outlook is positive for those with learning difficulties and their families.