Learning difficulty or Learning disability?

There is no single interpretation or consensual definition of the terms 'learning difficulty' and 'learning disability'.

Different organisations and local authorities appear to have adopted their own definition of the term.

This is the Salvesen Mindroom Centre's version

Difficulty = obstacle
Disability = something that incapacitates

Learning difficulty

Any learning or emotional problem that affects, or substantially affects, a person’s ability to learn, get along with others and follow convention.

Learning disability

A significant, lifelong condition that starts before adulthood, affects development and leads to help being required to:

  • Understand information
  • Learn skills
  • Cope independently

The NHS definition of a learning disability implies an IQ below 70.

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