Definition of learning difficulties in English:

learning difficulties

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.

    • ‘Many people with learning difficulties interviewed felt that professionals did not listen to them.’
    • ‘In addressing the needs of students with learning difficulties schools should address the following issues.’
    • ‘Do we make the sacramental preparation for people with learning difficulties relevant and easily accessible?’
    • ‘Under the general heading of learning difficulties we have decided to use four separate classifications.’
    • ‘The following tutorials explain options helpful for individuals with learning difficulties and impairments.’


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


learning difficulties