Students with Mild General Learning Difficulties (MGLD) have significantly below-average general intellectual functioning (Griffin & Shevlin 2011; NCSE 2014; Westwood 2015). This is reflected in a slow rate of maturation, reduced learning capacity and inadequate social adjustment. MGLD may also manifest itself in delayed conceptual development, difficulties in expressing ideas and feelings in words, a limited ability to abstract and generalise content learnt, limited attention-span and poor retention ability, slow speech and language development, difficulty adapting to change and an underdeveloped sense of spatial awareness (NCCA 2007). Students may experience difficulty with reading, writing and comprehension and have poor understanding of mathematical concepts (Doherty et al 2011; NCSE 2014; Reason & Boote 1994). A student with MGLD is likely to struggle with the content, process and presentation of his/her work (Ware et al 2011; Westwood 2015).
Some students may display poor adaptive, inappropriate or immature personal behaviour, low self-esteem, emotional disturbance, general clumsiness and lack of co-ordination of fine and gross motor skills (Cornish & Ross 2004). 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 (Westwood 2015; Winebrenner 2014). Insofar as Intelligence Quotient (IQ) may be used as an indicator of MGLD, such students’ cognitive functioning’s range from IQ 50 to 70 on standardised IQ tests (NCCA 2007; Winebrenner 2014). Remember that each student with a MGLD has different strengths, learning style, personality and varied interests and the same need for affirmation and success (NCSE 2014).