“What the difference is between the term learning difficulties and learning disability.”

This question is often asked by clients via our email advice service.  We prefer to use internationally recognised and agreed terms such as those defined in DSM-5 and ICD 10.  The most recently reviewed being DSM-5.  DSM-5 is the diagnostic manual produced by the American Psychiatric Association.  It has international acceptance.  The ICD 10 also has international acceptance and is produced by The World Health organisation (WHO) With respect to both DSM-5 and ICD 10 the terms learning difficulties and learning disability are not found. 

The term Specific Learning Disorder is found in DSM-5 and refers to difficulties with reading, reading fluency, reading comprehension, spelling accuracy, grammar and punctuation accuracy and organisation of written expression. Dyslexia is cited as an alternate term. 

DSM-5 also refer to Intellectual Disability this term is used to describe people who find learning generally difficult, there will be difficulties learning both in the academic setting and home and social settings.  IQ would generally be in the bottom 2% of the population (IQ 70 or below).