Students with mild general learning disabilities have significantly below-average general intellectual functioning. This is reflected in a slow rate of maturation, reduced learning capacity and inadequate social adjustment. Mild general learning disability may also manifest itself in delayed conceptual development, difficulties in expressing ideas and feelings in words, a limited ability to abstract and generalise what they learn, limited attention-span and poor retention ability, slow speech and language development, and an underdeveloped sense of spatial awareness. Students may experience difficulty with reading, writing and comprehension and have poor understanding of mathematical concepts. A student with a mild general learning disability is likely to struggle with both the content and presentation of his/her work.
Some students may display poor adaptive behaviour, inappropriate or immature personal behaviour, low self-esteem, emotional disturbance, general clumsiness and lack of co-ordination of fine- and gross-motor skills. Students’ self-esteem can be affected, particularly when they enter post-primary provision, which may result in unacceptable behaviour as a way of avoiding failure. Insofar as IQ (Intelligence Quotient) may be used as an indicator of mild general learning disability, such students’ cognitive functionings range from IQ 50 to 70 on standardised IQ tests. Remember that each student is different – what works for one may not work for another.