Learning Difficulties


Some parents will receive a diagnosis after their child is born. 

A learning difficulty could be due to: 

  • something that developed before birth. 
  • something during birth - for example if the baby did not get enough oxygen or was born too early. 
  • a childhood illness or physical accident during early childhood. 

Spotting the signs 

The early signs of a learning difficulties can be difficult to spot, but may include the following: 

  • babies may have trouble feeding, for example sucking and digesting. 
  • babies may be delayed learning to sit or stand. 
  • pre-school children may be slow to talk or have difficulty pronouncing words and short sentences or learning new words. 

Getting a diagnosis 

A GP usually makes a diagnosis, but it is often parents who first become aware that a child is having difficulties in certain areas. 

Learning difficulties may be diagnosed in various ways, such as: 

  • at a developmental check. All children have checks to monitor their growth rate and highlight any health problems. Health visitors and GPs will also look at what age the child is reaching their development milestones, such as learning to talk and developing physical skills. 
  • through psychological checks. These tests look at the child’s ability and compare it with what is considered typical for a child of that age. 

Getting the support of your health visitor and GP is often the first step. If your child has not received a diagnosis but you have concerns about their development you should contact your GP, who should be able to offer advice and refer you to a specialist if necessary. 

Need support? NurtureConnect allows you to connect with our NurtureProgram support team, or call our 24 hour NurtureLine 1300 622 243 or join our Facebook community.


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Disclaimer: This publication by Miracle Babies Foundation is intended solely for general education and assistance and it is it is not medical advice or a healthcare recommendation. It should not be used for the purpose of medical diagnosis or treatment for any individual condition. This publication has been developed by our Parent Advisory Team (all who are parents of premature and sick babies) and has been reviewed and approved by a Clinical Advisory Team. This publication is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Miracle Babies Foundation recommends that professional medical advice and services be sought out from a qualified healthcare provider familiar with your personal circumstances.To the extent permitted by law, Miracle Babies Foundation excludes and disclaims any liability of any kind (directly or indirectly arising) to any reader of this publication who acts or does not act in reliance wholly or partly on the content of this general publication. If you would like to provide any feedback on the information please email [email protected].