Cannon Street, Salford, Manchester, M3 7EU

0161 832 4664

0161 835 2915

The Friars Primary School

forward into the future

Cognition and Learning

Some of the aspects of difficulty in this area are:

Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD)

This involves a difficulty in one or more aspects of learning. This includes dyslexia (difficulties in reading and spelling), dyscalculia ( difficulties in mathematics), dyspraxia (difficulties in coordination) and dysgraphia (difficulties in writing). 


Children with dyslexia have a marked and persistent difficulty in learning to read, write and spell. Children may have poor reading comprehension and handwriting. They may also have difficulties in concentration and organisation, and in remembering sequences of words. They may mispronounce common words or reverse letters and sounds in words. Further information can be found by following this link:


Children with dyscalculia have difficulty in acquiring mathematical skills. Children may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers and have problems learning number facts and procedures. Further information can be found by following this link:


People with dysgraphia are affected by an extreme difficulty with fine motor skills and can have trouble organising letters, numbers and words on a line or page. This can result partly from:

  • visual-spatial difficulties: trouble processing what the eye sees; and
  • language processing difficulty: trouble processing and making sense of what the ear hears

Further information can be found by following this link:


Children with dyspraxia are affected by an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement, often appearing clumsy. Gross and fine motor skills are hard to learn and difficult to retain and generalise for these children. Children may have poor balance and coordination and may be hesitant in many actions (running, skipping, hopping, holding a pencil, doing jigsaws, etc). Their articulation may also be immature and their language late to develop. They may also have poor awareness of body position and poor social skills.

Further information can be found by following this link: 

Moderate Learning Difficulty (MLD)

Children with MLD will have attainment significantly below expected levels in most areas of the curriculum despite appropriate interventions. Their needs will not be able to be met by normal differentiation and the flexibilities of the National Curriculum. Children with MLD have much greater difficulty than their peers in acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills and in understanding concepts. They may also have an associated speech and language delay, low self-esteem, low levels of concentration and under-developed social skills.

Severe Learning Difficulty (SLD)

Children with SLD have significant intellectual or cognitive impairments. This has a major effect on their ability to participate in the school curriculum without support. They may also have difficulties in mobility and co-ordination, communication and perception and the acquisition of self-help skills. Children with severe learning difficulties will need support in all areas of the curriculum.

Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty (PMLD)

Children with PMLD have complex learning needs. In addition to very severe learning difficulties, children have other significant difficulties such as physical disabilities, sensory impairment or a severe medical condition. Children require a high level of adult support, both for their learning needs and also for their personal care. They are likely to need sensory stimulation and a curriculum broken down into very small steps. Some pupils communicate by gesture, eye pointing or symbols, others by very simple language.