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ALN - Types of Additional Learning Needs

There are a wide variety of learning difficulties and additional learning needs that your child / young person may have, and these may change and develop over time.

Often the areas of need overlap, or in some instances your child / young person's needs relate directly to one area of learning.

All children / young people are unique and different. What an additional need looks like for one person, could be different for another.

Below you will find a list of different types of ALN, some general information and links to other organisations who can give you more information on the area of need.


Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that mainly affects literacy and language related skills.

Developmental Coordination Delay (DCD)

All children develop motor and coordination skills at different rates. As they grow, some children / young people will have difficulties with fine (small) and gross (large) movements.

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world.

Speech and Language Difficulties

Learning a language takes time, and children / young people vary in how quickly they master milestones in language and speech development.

Visually Impaired

A visual impairment (VI) means than wearing glasses will not be able to correct your vision.


Deafness is the inability of an individual to hear sounds adequately.

Multi-sensory Impairment

Children and young people with Multi-sensory Impairment (MSI) have impairments of both sight and hearing.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is used to describe people who exhibit long-term difficulties that may include inattention hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD)

Learners with moderate learning difficulties will have attainments below expected levels in all or most areas of the curriculum.

Physical Difficulties

Having a Physical Difficulty may affect, either temporarily or permanently, a child / young person's physical ability and / or mobility.

Profound and Multiple Needs

A profound and multiple learning disability (PMLD) is when a person has a severe learning disability and other disabilities that significantly affect their ability to communicate and be independent.


Dyscalculia is a specific and persistent difficulty in understanding numbers. This can lead to a range of difficulties.

Sensory Processing Disorder

SPD (formerly called Sensory Integration Disorder) is a condition where the brain and nervous system have trouble processing or integrating stimulus.

Down's Syndrome

Down's Syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra copy of chromosome 21. It is not a hereditary condition and occurs by chance at the time of conception.

Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)

Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) is the new term to replace Specific Language Impairment (SLI).

Complex Health Needs

Your child / young person may have been diagnosed with complex health needs. This may include illness, disability or sensory impairment.
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