Children with moderate learning difficulties (MLD) face varying difficulties in the literacy (Gate, 2007). These difficulties need to be looked at closely in order to describe and analyze them. One of the primary needs for pupils with MLD is their ability to reading. Reading is regarded as a key skill which must be mastered at a young age as it is required daily and therefore will be important for any child’s future (Gulliford, 1986) There are various difficulties which can contribute to a child’s inability to read, for instance memory skills, attention span and less motivation can all play a role in hindering a child’s ability to read (Bender, 2003). Therefore, attention should be paid to this difficulty using the most effective approach, in order for the issue of reading to be addressed (Babbage, Byers & Redding, 1999). This essay will initially present the concept of moderate learning difficulties in different consideration and will analyzing their characteristics associated with their reading capacity state. Finally, it will state and discuss some recommendation to address reading difficulties.
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The term Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) is a derivative of the term learning difficulty (LD) which is extremely difficult to find a current definition describing a group of pupils with learning difficulties who share a common characteristic (Farrell, 1997; Frederickson & Cline, 2009). To determine a definition one should investigate several aspects such as the classification, and the prospective legislation, however these terms vary depending on the country.
The terms used for children with LD are influenced by the developments of the IQ test and curriculum requirements (Frederickson & Cline, 2009). Functional classification divides pupils into two groups based on their performances. The first group is determined by a below average level of intellectual development which is identified when they experience difficulties in general tasks e.g MLD. The second group have an average level of intelligence nevertheless they may have difficulties in specific tasks like reading or mathematics e.g Dyslexia (Dockrell & Mcshane, 1993). The IQ test is an effective method to determine the level of learning difficulties in a pupil; the IQ test may create the assumption that all children with similar IQ scores have similar cognitive skills (Dockrell & Mcshane, 1993 ) Therefore, it does not give a clear indication of the specific areas of difficulty which are experienced by the pupils and does not consider the nature of the pupil’s personal profile which is pivotal to understanding learning difficulties (Campdell, 2009; Gate, 2007). Furthermore, In many cases those with learning difficulties do not respond well to individual testing and therefore it is almost inevitable that the scores will not be reliable in instant, in practice the test may be impossible to conduct as some children may have difficulties in concentration during the process (Farrell, 1997).
The results which the IQ results should not always be considered final (Farrell, 1997, Campdell, 2009; Norwich & Kelly, 2005). An alternative system of classification is the concept of curricular need. This provision has been identified as one which is best suited to the child’s needs, focusing less on categorization through IQ testing (Frederickson & Cline, 2009). The Warnock report emphasizes this also as it encourages more attention on the child’s requirements rather than the child’s limitations. To devise appropriate intervention approach one should identify the appropriate curriculum for the child. In order to do so one must first understand the nature of the child’s problems, this requires an understanding of all of the child’s cognitive abilities not only the result of an IQ test (Dockrell & Mcshane, 1993 ).
The other matter which must be considered is the alteration in policies over recent years which greatly influences the definition of this group of pupils. Hodkinson & Vickerman (2009); Gulliford (1986) mention that Education Act 1870 established a compulsory education in England, in which the school were not able to refuse any child. The 1899 Act requires schools to provide an education specifically aimed at pupils who at that time were termed ‘mentally defective’ or ‘feeble-minded’ (Frederickson & Cline, 2009). By l945 the term ‘Educationally Sub Normal’ (ESN) was introduced as one of the largest groups referring to children who were regarded as having special educational needs (Norwich & Kelly, 2005). The 1944 Education Act improved the situation surrounding special education needs by ensuring that the LEA’s provided provisions to those suffering from a disability by either placing them in special schools or by introducing treatment aimed specifically at the ESN pupils (Hodkinson & Vickerman, 2009). The Warnock Report (1978: 43) suggested a redress of the terms, recommending “children with learning difficulties” as the corrective term which should be used to describe moderate learning difficulties previously term ESN(M) or severe learning difficulties previously ESN (S) in order to reduce stigmatization of the child and emphasize the precise nature of the difficulty. Furthermore the use of this term suggests that the disability was inherent and not due to the nature of their social environment, which was in fact a dominant feature (Frederickson & Cline, 2009). Terms such as ESN were unhelpful as they did not indicate specifically what provision was required for the individual child. Nor did they take into account the child’s other characteristics, like significant assets, or the child’s context, which might support or inhibit their learning (Norwich & Kelly, 2005). An investigation carried out by Macadam & Sutcliffe (1996) demonstrates that those with learning difficulties prefer the term ‘learning difficulties’.
The concept of learning difficulty came to be used as a general category since the 1981 Education Act. This education act eradicating the term SEN due to abolish categories and replacing it with a term which was considered more simplified, LD as the generic term for special educational needs and identifying children with SEN that all share difficulties in learning to some degree (Farrell, 1997). However, this alteration in terminology caused some confusion between professionals as the term MLD, which was introduced by the Warnock report, became frequently confused with LD as the more specific term for intellectual difficulties(Frederickson & Cline, 2009). Nevertheless, to avoid confusion between these two meanings of learning difficulties, it would have been wise to abandon the Warnock terminology and adopt some other term for children with moderate intellectual functioning (Norwich & Kelly, 2005). It would be wise to confirm that the term MLD can often be used merely as an expedient for the suitable of resources (Wilkinson-Tilbrook, 1995).
The Code of Practices (2001) does not supply a clear difference between severe and moderate learning difficulties, instead using the umbrella term of ‘learning difficulties’ for both (paragraph 3:56). However, there were four areas of need which were established in the second SEN Code which could be used as a framework in indentifying the child’s requirements (communication and interaction, cognition and learning, behaviour, emotional and social development and Sensory and/or physical). This shows that the four overlapping areas of need were still not used to replace the term MLD (Norwich & Kelly, 2005). Some writer also refer to all group of LD as one group (Carpenter et al, 2001; Gates, 2007; Coupe-O’kane & Goldbart, 1996)
The official terms for children with greater difficulties alter depending on country. In America, Harris (2006) states that the term mild intellectual disability is used for individuals with an IQ of 50-75 In contrast, in the UK children with an IQ 50-57 are described as MLD (Frederickson & Cline, 2009) some authorities do not use the IQ test to define MLD but focus on the characteristics of the child (Campdell, 2009; Wilkinson-Tilbrook, 1995 ). In the USA the terms ‘learning difficulties’ and MLD, both mean an intellectual disability. Thus, it should not be confused with the term describe children with ‘dyslexia’ for example, as in UK refer dyslexia to ‘specific learning difficulties’ (Rennie, 2007). In Saudi Arabia the degree of intelligence of the child who is educatable 75 degrees in IQ tests (Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia, 2001).
As it previous mention the complicated associating with the terminology which affect more comprehensible understanding. Yet for more clarity it is necessary to explain the characteristics of pupils with MLD which may facilitate to choose apposite intervention approaches.
The several learning difficulties
MLD is often used for children who have no specifically identifiable problem in learning, their learning difficulties tend to be general, which differentiates them from learners who have cognitive problems centre mainly on reading and writing (Wilkinson-Tilbrook, 1995). Yet such children almost invariably have difficulties in basic literacy and numeracy skills (DfE, 1994 p. 3) which make them not identified until they enter school because they are most frequently identified because of their failure to remain with the demands of the ordinary classroom.
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In some cases MLD is identified prior to a child starting school as some also may have speech and language difficulties may have poorly developed social skills, and express emotional and behavioral difficulties (Beveridge, 1996). Johnston (1998) has identified that it pupils who demonstrate the general characteristics of MLD such as short attention span, deficiency in memory. Although, MLD will also have area of strength in there learning as these difficulties not rooted in the learner and it should take the environment factors in account (Beveridge, 1996; Wilkinson-Tilbrook, 1995).
Why I choose this difficulty briefly (The reading skill importance some research results confirmed the progress the child do in reading)
Analyses the reason why the pupils with MLD have reading difficulties (attention span not long enough, have not got the motivation to read and the poor short term memory)
Teaching approach (There are several approach used to address the reading difficulties in this section I am going to adapt one approach and lock closely to their principle that build on )
(Peer tutoring approach, ICT approach, sensory approach, multimodal approach, Visual Approach) is these suitable Approaches
The situation in KSA In Saudi Arabia pupils with moderate learning difficulties usually study in mainstream Scholl in separate classroom they have reading lesson two hour every day with different curriculum stabile with their need in addition the IEP for some cases individually. Teachers usually teach children in groups and in the end of the lesson teacher focus in each pupils indevsually in making activity and some creating in group work. Teacher usually used Behaviour approach by three stages (accusation, maintenance, transfer) by analyses the goal to small steps and techniques of behavior modification approach, cognitive approach.
I am also interesting on this title (Critically analyses two approaches to intervention used with children with learning difficulties. Identify the strength and limitation of each of them) can I refer this to the children with children with MLD by using the same previous definition and does the approaches should focus in specific difficulties (cognitive, literacy or social skills) like the proviso title or only transit from the definition to cortical two approaches ( the principle and the aims of these approaches, the limitation and strength) .
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