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Attention and learning difficulties

Moira Buchanan, LBCTNZ

Attention and Learning Difficulties

The term "learning difficulties" means a disorder in one or more of the basic processes involved in understanding spoken or written language. Put another way, it impedes the ability to store, process or produce information. It may show up as a problem in a person’s ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do maths despite having at least average intelligence.  

The term "learning difficulties" does not refer to people who have learning problems which are primarily the result of visual, hearing or physical handicaps, metal retardation, emotional disturbance or of environment culture or economic disadvantage. A "learning difficulty" can occur with or without problems in attention.  

It has been found that in all research results from the UK and Scotland that working with a child on a one to one basis is and has been very successful and implemented into the main stream education system in those countries. Children with learning difficulties benefit from remedial exercises (PHONIC ROTE LEARNING - USING BOTH SOUND AND TOUCH) given by qualified educators in a one on one sitting at school.  

Learning difficulties are caused by the brain - not vision. Remember that any therapist should hold a relevant qualification from a reliable institute. In addition they should have a referral service and provide access to a variety of reference materials. Many vision therapy methods have no medical basis and can even cause a delay in getting assistance that sufferers need.

Common Attention and Learning Difficulties include:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Attention Deficit Hypoactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Auditory, Memory and Processing Disability
  • Central Auditory Processing Disorder
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Dyscalculia (dis-kal-kyu-lee-uh)
  • Dysgraphia (dis-gra-fee-uh)
  • Dyslexia (dis-lek-see-uh)
  • Dyspraxia (dis-prak-see-uh
  • Hyperlexia (hi-per-lek-see-uh)
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
  • Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome (sko-top-ik)

Autism Spectrum Disorders:

Autism is a developmental disability. A person with autism will have significant difficulties in several areas of their development. The areas most affected are communication, social interaction and behaviour. This developmental disability may have a particular pattern called autism, or there may be varying amounts of disability in other areas of development which result in patterns called Asperger Syndrome or Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD - NOS).

This whole area of developmental disabilities is referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorders. People with these disorders are affected differently, but all require specialised assistance and support.

Autism spectrum disorders include:

  • Autism
  • Autistic Disorder (Childhood Autism)
  • Asperger Disorder (Syndrome)
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD)
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not otherwise Specified (PDD - NOS) / Atypical Autism
  • Rett Disorder (Syndrome)

    For more detailed information on each of these disorders, click here.

The Learning and Behaviour Charitable Trust NZ website is designed to give you the information and resources you may need if you know someone with a learning or behaviour difficulty. We welcome all feedback and input, as it is our aim to make this the premium site for learning and behaviour difficulties in New Zealand.