Moderate Learning Disabilities (MLD)

Many pupils with Moderate Learning Disabilities (MLD) will also be suffering from low levels of self-esteem and motivation. They may become resentful and refuse to attempt new work as they perceive themselves to be likely to fail before they start. It is likely that they will become over-reliant on teaching assistants to help them with tasks and they will need much encouragement and praise to persuade them to attempt new challenges within their capability and develop greater confidence.

Key Characteristics


Children with MLD may:
+ Have immature listening/attention skills
+ Have immature social skills
+ Rely on a teaching assistant to direct them within the class
+ Have a poor auditory memory
+ Have a poor visual memory
+ Have difficulty acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills
+ Have difficulties with comprehension skills
+ Need a high level of support with investigation and problem-solving activities
+ Have poor verbal and non-verbal reasoning skills
+ Have difficulties with applying what they know to other situations
+ Have some motor coordination difficulties

Support Strategies


You may need to:
  • Provide teaching assistant support but encourage learners to work independently where possible.
  • Ensure that learning activities are broken down into small steps and are clearly focused.
  • Simplify, differentiate or abbreviate class tasks
  • Provide a multi-sensory approach to learning
  • Provide activities to develop motor skills
  • Use visual and concrete materials to aid understanding
  • Keep language simple and familiar in guided group work
  • Make use of songs, rhymes and rhythm to aid learning sequences, such as the alphabet, days of the week etc.
  • Keep instructions short and concise
  • Ask Children to repeat instructions in order to clarify understanding
  • Provide alternative methods of recording, such as labelled pictures
  • Ensure repetition and reinforcement within a variety of contexts
  • Allow extra time to complete a task
  • Monitor and record progress so that each small achievement is recognised
  • Organise activities to develop listening and attention skills
  • Practise a range of sequencing activities, such as pictorial activity or story sequences
  • Develop role-play and drama activities including the use of finger and hand puppets
  • Help learners organise their written work by using writing frames
  • Praise every effort and successful achievement of new skills