Cognitive & Learning Difficulties

Useful Information for Pupils with Differences

Common Issues

  • Have a mismatch between what they know and what they are capable of communicating
  • Difficulties with motor skills, show signs of frustration, inconsistent attainment, poor memory skills
  • Need support and encouragement
  • Require help to remember information and raise self esteem

 

Dyslexia

Characteristics

  • Can cause problems with spelling, writing, organisation, memory, speaking reading and processing of information
  • Can lead to poor integration and low self esteem
  • Can be good at creativity, making links, problem solving, grasping an overview and visual/spatial skills

 

Strategies

  • Encourage proof reading
  • Use IT and text-to-speech software
  • Keep instructions short and repeat if necessary
  • Adopt a multi-sensory approach: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic
  • The Six Ls 
  1. Legibility - ensure all work presented is clearly legible
  2. Layout - Consider the layout of sheets and colour, use memory maps
  3. Links - use key words/pictures to link information together
  4. Large Picture, Little Chunks - provide an overview and then break information down into small chunks
  5. Language - Use simple and clear language
  6. Look Again - Do a review of what has been covered

 

 

Dyspraxia

Characteristics

  • Known as 'developmental co-ordination disorder'
  • Combination of problems with gross and fine motor skills, which can lead to poor balance, fatigue and poor hand-eye co-ordination
  • May struggle with physical activities
  • Difficulties with perception
  • Difficulties with organising thoughts and following instructions
  • May become stressed and anxious
  • Poor writing and drawing skills

 

Strategies

  • Focus on positive points to try to build self esteem
  • Develop activities to aid co-ordination
  • Give clear instructions with eye contact
  • Use visual cues
  • Offer seating where distractions are minimal
  • Break down activities into smaller chunks
  • Promote IT skills

 

Dysgraphia

Characteristics 

  • Presents as a difficulty in expressing thoughts into writing and graphing
  • Can be highly articulate
  • Takes the form of poor handwriting and possibly difficulties with organisation and fine motor skills
  • Poor writing skills may include poor spelling, reversal of letters, missing punctuation and unfinished words or letters
  • May appear to be frustrated or stressed with written tasks

 

Strategies

  • Encourage IT skills, primarily keyboard skills
  • Reduce the amount of copying required and provide worksheets
  • Use mind maps to illustrate main ideas
  • Offer multi-sensory techniques
  • Offer squared or lines paper to help with organisation and legibility
  • Allow auditory evidence of work

 

 

Dyscalculia

Characteristics 

  • A condition affecting the ability to understand, remember and use numbers
  • Issues in Maths, e.g. understanding signs, times tables, telling the time, reversing of numbers
  • May lead to low confidence
  • Written language may also be affected, e.g. poor spelling and handwriting
  • Problems with spatial orientation

 

 Strategies

  • Visualise maths problems, e.g. by drawing pictures
  • Use music, rhyme and repetition to help memorise maths facts
  • Ensure worksheets are simply laid out
  • Get the pupil to read aloud as auditory skills may be a strength
  • Allow extra time to complete tasks
  • Use graph paper to help keep numbers in line