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Severe Learning Difficulties


Learners with Severe Learning Difficulties are likely to have extreme difficulty with reading and writing and may also require help with face-to-face communication. They are still likely to be attending a special school or unit although a growing number will be in mainstream school. When in a mainstream setting they are likely to be extensively supported, either by a learning support assistant or have additional teacher input.

As well as using standard computer hardware and software with additional support, such as an overlay keyboard, many within this group will require specialised software and hardware. Some learners will have additional motor and perceptual problems which may make it hard for them to use a keyboard or mouse.

Information commiunication technology has much to offer this group by providing motivation and access to learning resources. Symbols and speech output can provide them with access to recording and receiving information without reliance on text. An overlay keyboard with pictures and symbols can be used to send text to a word processor. Simple to use switches can be used to access learning software. Rollerballs and Mousers can simplify the mouse control which is now essential to using many learning programs. CD-ROM and other talking book software can mix text, sound and moving images to make a multi-sensory learning experience. The best examples of this type of resource will allow the learner to interact with the content of the program.

As learners in this group can have additional difficulties the choice of suitable resources should involve other professionals as appropriate. Specialist advice may also be required with a possible additional loan or trial period for equipment that may be required.

Some learners in this group may also benefit from using other technology such as switch operated equipment, toys and specialised communication aids.


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