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SpLD (Learning Difficulties)

Specific Learning Difficulties

The RAF use the term ‘Specific Learning Difficulties’ (SpLD) to identify the 4 individual learning difficulties that are supported within the Service. These are:


-this is a combination of abilities and difficulties. Reading is often a challenge due in part to the inability to skim and scan through written material. It can manifest itself in weakness in short-term and working memory, speed of

processing, sequencing skills, auditory and/or visual perception, spoken language, motor skills, poor spelling and handwriting.


- this is an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement, often giving the impression of clumsiness. Motor skills relating to balance, co-ordination and manipulation of objects are hard to learn. Writing can be difficult and pronunciation may be affected.


- this is a difficulty involving arithmetical skills. Students with dyscalculia may have difficulty in understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers and have problems learning number facts and procedures.

Meares-Irlen Syndrome

- this is also known as ‘Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome’ and is a broadly defined visual perceptual disorder that primarily affects reading and writing based activities. Individuals experience distortions when looking at certain materials, in particular texts. The distortion includes; blurring; movement of letters; words doubling; shadowy lines; shapes and colours on the page and flickering. These symptoms are alleviated by using coloured filters and coloured lenses, which have been individually prescribed by a trained practitioner.

A person who has a SpLD cannot be 'cured' of it, but can learn to cope better with it; having an increased awareness of the specific problem is the first stage in the process.

SpLDs are not related in any way to intellectual ability, but it can cause emotional disturbance, sensory impairment and a loss of motivation. An individual, personal approach to each case is necessary. The first point of contact for further information on SpLD and support within the RAF is your local Learning Centre and PLA.

Specific Learning Difficulties booklets (23 Mar 2010)

Why not download the following booklets for guidance:

Effective Writing

A simple guide to Specific Learning Difficulties in the RAF

Guidance on Dyslexia for Line Managers in the Workplace

Useful Information

Click here to find out more about the Dyslexia Network via the Defence Gateway

Coping strategies for Dyslexics

Individual Learning Plan template

Guidance on Dyslexia for Line Managers

Instructors Information

Useful Specific Learning Difficulties Links

Frequently Asked Questions

Further Information

You may obtain further information on this matter and funding lines by reading the RAF Policy contained in AP3379 Leaflet 1550 or by contacting the 22 Trg Gp Accreditation and Education Wing:

Rebecca Christie
SO3 Accreditation


Mil: 95751 6888
Civ: 01400 266888

Accreditation and Education Wing,
Rm 221b, Trenchard Hall
RAFC Cranwell
NG34 8HB.

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