Learning difficulties and Specific Learning Disorders

01 What Do I Need To Know?

What is a Specific Learning Disorder?

It is an impairment in one or more psychological processes related to learning. It results in below average academic acheivement in reading, writing or mathematics.

Affects 4-5 % of students.

Diagnosis : Using the DSM 5 diagnostic criteria

Criteria A: Peristent difficuties learning and using academic skills despite 6 months of intervention

Criteria B: Academic diffculties signifcantly below age expectations

Criteria C: Learning difficuties began during school age years

Criteria D: Learning difficuties not better accounted for by other condtions e.g. sensory impairment, neurological disorders, psychosocial adversity, language difficulties, inadequate educational instruction.

Types of Specific learnig Disorders


Reading comphrehension

Word reading accuracy

Reading rate or fluency

Written expression

Spelling accuracy

Grammar and punctuation accuracy

Clarity and organisation of written expression


Number sense

Memoristion of arithmetic facts

Accurate or fluent correction

Accurate math reasoning

Dyslexia is: Reading SLD and spelling accuracy

Dyscalculia is: Number sense, memoristion of arithmetic facts and accurate or fluent correction


In younger children grade 2 or less the approach is remediation and in children grade 3-6 the approach is accommodation.

Response and intervention: 3 tier approach to learning and instruction school

Tier 1:  Universal instruction: best practice teaching, prevention and screening

Tier 2:  Selected instruction: students requiring additional support in small group remediation and compensation

Tier 3: Targeted instruction: 1:1 instruction and an Individual Learning plan ILP

02 What Others Say


03 I Want To Know More

  • Special education Intervention and assessment providers

SPELD (Specific learning Difficulties) 

  • Referral service for students and provides qualified tutors

Learning Difficulties Australia

  • Five from five Literacy Project


  • Tips on reading to your child 

Reading rockets

The information published here has been reviewed by Flourish Paediatrics and represents the available published literature at the time of review.
The information is not intended to take the place of medical advice.
Please seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional.
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Last updated: 26/05/2018