What is SpLD?
by Jan Thomson-Long
Specific Learning Disabilities / Difficulties / Differences
“That which we call a rose by ay other name would smell as sweet” ~ Romeo & Juliet
The ‘D’ keeps changing its word, some people refer to it as disability but then it became difficulties which has recently gone out of favour, more popular now is difference. Actually the phrases used to refer to individuals who learn in a different way regularly change as they often become words used to bully or mock. That, sadly, is inevitable given human nature and the topic for another blog.
We have found a great deal out about how the brain works over the years but are still reliant upon individual testing to discover how each individual’s brain processes the world around them and incorporates that to use as they go forward. In other words learn.
Learning is understanding, the acquisition of information and/or development of new skills. Everything we do either adds new learning or practices something. Neurons fire and create pathways, the better the pathways the easier the recall.
There is technology such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) which identifies activity in different parts of the brain by blood flow based on the theory that neurons are being fed more blood when active. This has helped to identify the regions of the brain being used during particular tasks. fMRI is mainly being used in research at this point as it is not yet feasible due to both economic and practical reasons to use this for diagnosis.
So human beings tend to learn in similar ways, but every brain is different and therefore we have our own preferences and styles. In schools teachers by the nature of class teaching end up teaching to the ‘average’.
So a SpLD is referring to a person who learns a bit differently as their brain isn’t ‘average’. That doesn’t mean they are sub-normal or anything like that it just means that teachers need to adapt their teaching to support these individuals appropriately.
There are various SpLDs and these will be discussed in future blogs.