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Learning difficulties

This page addresses problems often associated with hemiplegia. Some of these may be specific learning difficulties; others, associated problems which nevertheless have an impact on school work.

Because of their physical limitations, most students with hemiplegia experience some difficulty and frustration at school, and may need a little more time and attention to achieve their full potential.

However, some young people with hemiplegia have general or specific learning difficulties which may be slight or severe, and which can be more frustrating and disabling than their obvious physical ones.

We cannot provide solutions for these problems, but we can offer suggestions on alleviating some of them, and draw attention to others so that advice can be sought from specialists and educational advisors in the appropriate area.

Short concentration span


  • difficulty settling down to tasks
  • frequent lapses of attention
  • tendency to be easily distracted


  • reconsider seating and position in classroom
  • break down tasks into smaller units
  • focus on short sessions of concentrated effort

Short term memory problems


  • poor retention of information or instructions
  • difficulty in sequencing a series of instructions or objectives


  • give clear instructions, written if necessary
  • give clear, written goals for all tasks, to help students to develop personal organisational skills
  • encourage students to draw up a work plan for each task.

Using a computer

Many of the learning problems outlined above can be alleviated by the use of a computer.

Using a keyboard may:

  • help students with poor handwriting skills
  • help develop the ability to present work effectively
  • help develop personal organisational skills
  • help dyslexic students correct spelling

If the student has a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) it may be possible to obtain funding for a laptop or alternative writing aid from your LEA. Another possible source is CENMAC, who will assess any student, whether statemented or not.

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