The term learning difficulties include a variety of disorders that affect the ability to learn, and that affect each child differently. Some of the most common examples follow.

Reading disability
Most of the children identified as having learning difficulties have problems with reading. Research has shown that difficulties in learning to read arise from a core deficit in phonological awareness, a skill that is needed to associate spoken words with written language.
Phonological processing skills include our awareness and ability to identify sounds within words (phoneme discrimination), our ability to learn these symbols of the language and to recall their sounds quickly (phonological memory), and our ability to generalise this information to a variety of oral, written and reading tasks.

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Dyslexia
This is a reading and language-based learning difficulty, characterised by problems in expressive, receptive, oral or written language and evident in the performance skills of reading, spelling, writing, listening or speaking. Symptoms include difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and poor spelling and decoding abilities, causing poor comprehension and impeded vocabulary and background knowledge.
According to the International Dyslexia Association, current studies suggest that 15-20% of the population has a reading difficulty. Of those, 85% have dyslexia.

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Perceptual disorders
These learning difficulties indicate problems with a child’s ability to use the information that is taken in through the senses – seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching. These problems are not related to an inability to see or hear. Instead, the conditions affect the way the brain recognises, responds to, retrieves, and stores sensory information.
Perceptual skills play an important role in the learning process and deficits make academic learning very difficult, no matter how intelligent a child is.

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Dyspraxia
Dyspraxia can affect any or all areas of development – intellectual, emotional, physical, language, social and sensory – and may impair a child’s normal process of learning. Usually, it is said to be an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement, but associated with this may be problems of language, perception and thought.
Difficulties arise in the process of forming ideas, motor planning and execution, since children with dyspraxia have poor understanding of the messages their senses convey and difficulty relating those messages to actions.
This means physical activities are hard to learn, difficult to retain, and hesitant and awkward in performance.

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Dyscalculia
Those with dyscalculia have difficulty understanding the most basic of mathematical concepts and solving even simple maths problems. They also struggle to learn abstract concepts of time and direction, schedules, telling and keeping track of time, and the sequence of past and future events. They have difficulty following sequential directions – sequencing, organising detailed information, and remembering specific facts and formulas for completing their mathematical calculations.

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Dysgraphia
This difficulty is related to handwriting. Children with this condition have problems forming letters as they write or have trouble writing within a defined space.

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – also referred to ADD or ADHD – is a biological, brain based condition that is characterised by poor attention and distractibility and/or hyperactive and impulsive behaviours.
It is one of the most common mental disorders that develop in children. If left untreated, ADHD can lead to poor school/work performance, poor social relationships and a general feeling of low self esteem. The most prevalent symptoms of ADHD are inattention and distractibility and/or hyperactive and impulsive behaviours.
Difficulties with concentration, mental focus, and inhibition of impulses and behaviours are chronic and pervasive and impair an individual’s daily functioning across various settings – home, school or work, in relationships, etc.

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Asperger syndrome
Asperger syndrome is a developmental disorder. It is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), one of a distinct group of neurological conditions characterised by a greater or lesser degree of impairment in language and communication skills, as well as repetitive or restrictive patterns of thought and behaviour.
Children with ASD want to know everything about their topic of interest and their conversations with others will be about little else. Their expertise, high level of vocabulary, and formal speech patterns make them seem like little professors. Children with ASD are isolated because of their poor social skills and narrow interests.

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