North Chadderton

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General Learning Difficulties

Piaget described four stages of normal cognitive development. They can be seen in this video:

Children with cognition and learning difficulties may have:

 - lower levels of attainment across the board in all forms of assessment

 - difficulty in acquiring skills (notably in literacy and numeracy)

 - difficulty in dealing with abstract ideas and generalising from experience and a range of associated difficulties, notably in speech and language and in social and emotional development

 - This category can be sub-divided further into MLD (moderate learning difficulties), SLD (severe learning difficulties), and PMLD (profound and multiple learning difficulties).  


In the UK, most children with MLD are educated in mainstream schools. Some may have an Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP), but most will be supported by the standard SEN provision in school.  Children with MLD are usually identified in primary school. 


Children with MLD will have difficulty accessing the school curriculum across most areas, and learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation. 


Information to support parents

If your child has MLD, you may find the information here helpful:


Information for teachers: 

There are excellent strategies here for supporting students with MLD:

cognition and learning mld.pdf