This is likely to be the most common difficulty present in the pupils in your class. Pupils with this problem are usually performing at a significantly lower level than their peers in reading, writing, spelling and sometimes numeracy. A learner with MLD is likely to be struggling with both the content and the presentation of their work. There is no identified specific reason for this difficulty.
This problem may not be apparent in a child’s early years and the severity of the difficulty may only become obvious when children start to undertake standardised tests. Moderate learning difficulties tends to be diagnosed on the basis of an IQ test.
If the IQ is 70 or below, give or take a few points, then the child is considered to have MLD. A teacher usually can tell it’s MLD when the pupils are ‘slow’ in all areas – i.e. it’s not just language ability that is affected but they are slow to pick up new concepts, maths is weak, and the difficulties occur across all areas of the curriculum.
Pupils with MLD are likely to be in the early stages of the Code of Practice (N.I) and are most likely to be taught mainly within the class but may be withdrawn for short periods of time each week. They will have Individual Education Plans with specified targets on them relating to their particular difficulties.