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Moderate Learning Difficulties & Education - What You Need To Know

Moderate learning difficulties (MLD) is sometimes referred to as global learning difficulties. Children with MLD experience difficulty with learning. A general developmental delay can cause lower educational attainment than would be expected for their age. Children with MLD may also have associated difficulties such as dyspraxia.

What Is MLD?

Children with MLD may appear to be less mature than their contemporaries; they may have social difficulties which make it hard to make friends. This can mean they find school hard and can experience bullying. A child with MLD may also have challenging behaviour resulting from their finding both learning and communication difficult.

What Are The Signs Of MLD?

A child with MLD may have some or all of the following:

  • Delay and problems with reading, writing and numeracy - this can cause a lack of confidence in any skills they do have in these areas
  • Difficulty with understanding basic ideas and concepts
  • Poor problem solving skills
  • Difficulty in applying learning to different situations
  • Poor visual and/or auditory memory
  • Difficulty dealing with personal organisation
  • Poor fine and gross motor skills
  • Difficulty with memory and remembering what they’ve learned
  • Emotional and behavioural concerns
  • Sensory impairment
  • Lack of social skills
  • Speech and language delay

How Can You Help A Child With MLD?

Children with MLD benefit from a regular routine and structure. The following may also help:
  • Give the child responsibilities and encourage them
  • Praise and rewards for academic achievement but also for effort and positive behaviour
  • Set realistic expectations so that success is achievable
  • Give clear instructions and ask the child to repeat them back to you so that they can be confident they have understood
  • Check understanding at every stage of a task
  • Adopt different learning styles, showing as well as telling and providing opportunities for multi-sensory and practical learning
  • Allow for breaks between short bursts of learning
  • Using ICT equipment where appropriate
  • Facilitating friendship groups
  • Provide positive role models

Choosing a school for a child with MLD

Many children with MLD do very well in mainstream school. Look for a school with a well qualified SENCo who is prepared to fight for extra support.

It’s likely that by the time they reach secondary school children with MLD will find the demands too much and they may need to move to a more specialised environment.

Grace Education
Dallington School
Duke of York's Royal Military School
Prior's Court School