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learning difficulties Line breaks: learn|ing dif|fi¦cul¦ties

Entry from British & World English dictionary

Definition of learning difficulties in English:

plural noun

Difficulties in acquiring knowledge and skills to the normal level expected of those of the same age, especially because of mental disability or cognitive disorder.
Example sentences
  • Many people with learning difficulties interviewed felt that professionals did not listen to them.
  • The following tutorials explain options helpful for individuals with learning difficulties and impairments.
  • Under the general heading of learning difficulties we have decided to use four separate classifications.


The phrase learning difficulties became prominent in the 1980s. It is broad in scope, covering general conditions such as Down’s syndrome as well as more specific cognitive or neurological conditions such as dyslexia and attention deficit disorder. In emphasizing the difficulty experienced rather than any perceived ‘deficiency’, it is considered less discriminatory and more positive than other terms such as mentally handicapped, and is now the standard accepted term in Britain in official contexts. Learning disability is the standard accepted term in North America.

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