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Moderate learning difficulties

(11 Posts)
akuabadoll Wed 18-Jan-17 00:06:12


My son was described as having 'moderate learning difficulties' in a meeting with the school principle yesterday.
The meeting was requested by us parents to explore our son's needs further and to seek reassurance that the school were doing all they can.

The principle admitted that they still have no SENCO and 'moderate learning difficulties' is how his situation would be described "in the UK" (for context this is a British head in an overseas primary school).

Is this a familiar description to those of you with children in UK primary schools? What does it mean? Is it just a non-specific catch all?

Thanks for any observations you may have.

Duckanddrake Wed 18-Jan-17 16:20:26

As far as I'm aware teachers are not qualified to make assumptions such as labelling your child with "moderate earning difficulties" especially someone who doesn't hold a senco role. It isn't helpful either!!! What are they saying exactly? Do they mean global delay? Do they mean specific learning difficulties? I would look to getting a proper assessment from an educational psycologist who give you a true picture of your child's profile and can point you in the direction of getting the right support. On the surface of things it doesn't sound like your school is being much help at all!!

lougle Wed 18-Jan-17 16:30:46

Generally learning difficulty classifications correlate with IQ, although IQ isn't really used anymore. So a person with an IQ of less than 20 would be described as having a profound learning disability.
A person with an IQ of 20-34, a severe learning disability
A person with an IQ of 35-49, moderate learning disability
A person with an IQ of 50-70, mild learning disability.

Bearing in mind that the 'average IQ' is 100.

In pragmatic terms it depends on whether the child has global learning difficulties, specific difficulties in one or two areas (e.g. dyslexia), or a spiky profile such as ASD, where they can be very behind in some areas, very ahead in others, etc.

My DD is 11 and has MLD. She operates at around 5 year old level, academically and socially.

akuabadoll Thu 19-Jan-17 10:20:57

Thanks this is useful. I have to explore somehow with what confidence/knowledge MLD was brought up (he knows they are not in a position to offically say anything).
I have now had a look at some UK sites defining MLD (it's not recognised internationally) prompted by your message lougle and I'm a bit shocked by the gravity. Not least because I've been bugging them for ages at class level and was starting to feel like "that parent". If you don't mind sharing when was your daughter tested? How do you mean that IQ isn't really used anymore? As a direct correlation with LDs or IQ tests? I wish you well with her and hope you get good support.

lougle Thu 19-Jan-17 13:16:56

In the UK they don't tend to use IQ testing because it doesn't give a good picture of a child's strengths and weaknesses. DD1 had a development test at the age of 3 which showed that she was about 18 months behind in social interaction, 12 months behind in gross and fine motor skills and 6-12 months behind in all other areas.

However the gap tends to widen as children bet older, so now she functions at around half her age.

akuabadoll Thu 19-Jan-17 14:20:42

Ah ok l, I see. My son certainly doesn't have a spiky profile. His emotional and social life is fine, more than fine. He could have dyslexia but there is more going on than that. He doesn't retain information well but it's varied. He has some very basic skills in phonics and maths (he is 7). My husband has tended towards the idea that he would get there in his own time (and is from a country where kids go into formal education later than the UK which I think influences his thinking). I'm not so sure.
You noticed differences in your daughter when she was very young then? I reflect now as I have a second child 4 years younger. At 3 he is nothing like his brother was at that age (but I don't know what these differences mean).

lougle Thu 19-Jan-17 14:30:15

Yes, although looking back at posts I wrote here at the time, I had convinced myself I was just a bad mum who couldn't cope with an active child. Several posters told me she sounded 'normal' (although many urged me to persist with paediatrician referral) - so it's interesting that they thought she sounded normal when in fact she has very significant learning difficulties.

akuabadoll Thu 19-Jan-17 15:06:51

Wow that is interesting, yes. My eldest still often fails to follow basic concepts of time for example "am I going to Jimmy's house on Friday? When is that, now?" "Oh after I wake up, in the next day?" "So what day is it today?" He may or may not forget 10 minutes later. The little one isn't even directly involved but is more likely to "get it".
He is really well liked, class clown type, imaginative and fun. I often get the "oh that's just Jonny though, he is such a good kid". To the extent that people tend to shut me down "oh don't say that" (when I say he is struggling).

lougle Fri 20-Jan-17 01:03:25

You really need, I think, to get him seen by a developmental paediatrician - that is the person who would be qualified to tell you if your DS was in fact behind in key areas and which areas those would be.

Being the class clown doesn't mean he's coping well, by the way. It's a really common diversion tactic used by children to deflect attention from their struggles. If they're being given attention (good or bad) for the silly noises, the jokes, the faces, fiddling, etc., nobody has time to notice that they can't do the work because they're too busy telling them off for the fact that they won't do the work.

akuabadoll Fri 20-Jan-17 15:28:35

Thanks. There is no one of that profession where we live. I know a child psychologist who must know what's out there better than us so I'll ask her to get a better idea of options.

collettehowe Wed 28-Mar-18 11:17:37

Hi! I'm writing an article for my Masters degree on how the education system deals with learning difficulties. It would be great to speak to parents to hear how their children have been supported for it, if at all and how you feel about it.

I have dyslexia myself so I have seen first hand how it is often overlooked, which is why I'm wanting to investigate further.

I'd really appreciate any help, my email is

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