SpLD – Specific Learning Differences

An introduction to SpLD, ADD, ADHD, Sensory Impairment & Asperger Syndrome

Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD), such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia, affect at least 10% of the population, 4% severely so. For those individuals, skills such as writing, reading and information processing can be a significant challenge. Despite strengths in other areas, many people with SpLDs are still perceived, unfairly, as lazy or stupid. All too often, formal education struggles to cater for the diverse nature of learning differences, resulting in under achievement, lack of self-esteem and, potentially, the underdevelopment of academic and employability skills.

Additionally, more than 12 million people, in the UK, have substantial sensory impairment and many face unreasonable barriers to learning. This is also true of individuals with ADD, ADHD and Asperger Syndrome, whose specific needs are not always understood.

Whilst many organisations do make provision for assessing and supporting those individuals who have been identified as needing additional support, the complex nature of learning difficulties and differences can mean that some individuals – especially those with less severe conditions – go undiagnosed and unsupported. This can have a devastating effect on their own educational experience, as well as potentially leading to emotional distress, a profound sense of failure, and even behavioural issues.

It is well known that the Equality Act, 2010, expects organisations to make reasonable adjustments for all students and employees with disabilities. It is therefore important that teachers, trainers, managers and learning support staff are aware of how learning difficulties and differences manifest themselves, so that they can recognise how these impact on each individual. The organisation is then able to put in place the appropriate support mechanisms, thereby increasing participation, promoting inclusion and ultimately raising retention and achievement levels.

This one-day workshop provides an informative, interactive and valuable insight into the following learning difficulties and differences:

  • Dyslexia (and visual stress)
  • Dyspraxia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Attention deficit disorders (ADD/ADHD)
  • Sensory impairment (sight, hearing, speech)
  • Asperger syndrome

The course also offers practical coping strategies and approaches to teaching and learning, and raises awareness on how to support individuals with specific learning difficulties and differences.

For Whom

This workshop is suitable for representatives from all education and employment providers. It offers an introduction to SpLDs, ADD/ADHD, Sensory Impairment and Asperger Syndrome .

It will be of considerable use to all those involved in teaching, training or in the support of others, including representatives from:

  • Schools, Colleges, Universities, Learning Providers, Playgroups and Youth Clubs
  • Teachers, Lecturers, Trainers, Tutors, Assessors, Learning Support Teams
  • Those working with the NEET cohort or students with additional needs
  • Heads of Department and Year
  • Operational Managers, including Quality, IAG, Student Services, SLDD
  • Employers, Charities, Local Authorities
  • HR Teams

Whilst the workshop it is not designed for subject specialists, it could, nevertheless, be valuable to those wishing to gain insight into ways to cascade basic knowledge, guidance and support strategies.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of this course is to :

  • Outline the basic characteristics and typical differences, both strengths and weaknesses of the common specific learning difficulties
  • Explain how these differences can impact on an individual in terms of behaviour, learning and in the workplace
  • Raise awareness of the potential for co-occurring difficulties
  • Offer advice and guidance on how to identify those who may have SpLDs or related conditions
  • Offer practical suggestions to help support individuals, including assistive technology
  • Clarify the responsibilities of an employer/educational organisation, in line with the Equality Act, 2010.
  • Provide advice on liaison, referrals, further assessment and funding, as applicable

Course Content

1. Commonly Occurring Specific Learning Difficulties
Session 1 provides an overview of SpLDs, including the common characteristics, together with typical strengths and weaknesses of:

  • Dyslexia (and visual stress)
  • Dyspraxia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Attention deficit disorders (ADD/ADHD)
  • Sensory impairment (sight, hearing, speech)
  • Asperger syndrome

2. Assessing and Identifying SpLDs
The second session explores:

  • how each learning difficulty typically presents itself
  • how to identify ‘at risk’ individuals
  • how conditions can co-occur
  • how to determine whether additional support is required

3. Support strategies
Session 3 explores what effective support strategies might look like for a variety of conditions and difficulties. Session 3:

  • defines reasonable adjustments
  • offers effective coping strategies for
    • management
    • staff
    • individuals experiencing differences and difficulties

suggests ways to best to support individuals with learning difficulties and disabilities

4. Further sources of help and support
Session 4 considers additional sources of help, guidance and support and provides an opportunity for participants to ask about any issues or concerns they may have that have not already been covered.

  • Sources of additional support and guidance
    • Internal
    • External
  • Privacy and confidence conflicts
  • Questions and Answers