Learning Difficulties

Learning difficulties can have a broad range of implications for individuals, which are often not solely confined to formal education settings. Learning difficulties often involve problems with an individual’s ability to process, understand, remember and express information. Therefore, learning difficulties can have a negative impact on a person’s work, social confidence, relationships and overall happiness.

If you have a learning difficulty that was not identified during childhood, you may now find you are struggling to cope with the increased demands of adulthood and feel stressed or down as a result. It is not uncommon for adults to feeling ashamed or embarrassed and attempt to deny or ignore a learning difficulty. Often individuals internalise these feelings and label themselves as incompetent or unable. If this is the case for you, your self-confidence may be suffering as a result.

It is not uncommon for learning difficulties to be remain undetected, and consequently evolve to be a lifelong issue for some adults. Learning difficulties are struggles which persist despite hard work and motivation, and are not explained by a lack of education or a low IQ. Reading and spelling are areas in which people with learning difficulties commonly struggle, however there are a wide range of learning difficulties, and they are unique in each individual. However an individual with a specific difficulty in one or more areas often has average or above average performance in other areas. For example, an individual who has a specific difficulty in language may perform well in mathematics.

If you have a learning difficulty, you may struggle with:

  • Language
  • Time management
  • Planning
  • Attention
  • Memory
  • Motor coordination

Because of difficulties in these areas you may:

  • Struggle to understand things when reading
  • Mix up numbers and letters that look alike
  • Feel embarrassed that you pronounce words incorrectly
  • Underestimate or overestimate how much time has passed
  • Have illegible handwriting and write in a disorganised way
  • Find it difficult to follow and contribute to a conversation
  • Need to use lots of filler phrases (such as “ummm” and “like”)
  • Have difficulty following instructions and completing tasks
  • Have a poor sense of direction
  • Confuse left from right

If you are unsure of the cause of your difficulties, a formal assessment can determine whether the problem lies in your ability to learn or whether the difficulties are grounded in other factors – emotional, attentional, physical etc. Learning assessments will also indicate which areas of learning are affected, to allow targeted and evidence-based strategies to be put into action.

There are practitioners at VCPS which have specialised training in learning difficulties and related issues. Some ways that our practitioners can help you include:

  • Conducting a comprehensive assessment on your abilities to identify:

(1) Whether there are any learning difficulties

(2) The extent of the difficulties

(3) The areas of learning that are most affected

  • Provide a written report with personalised recommendations and strategies
  • Providing counselling or one-to-one assistance where required to work through any social, emotional or behavioural issues that are contributing to the learning difficulties
  • Teaching you learning skills that build upon your strengths
  • Providing strategies that compensate for your learning difficulties