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Tailoring your classroom for students with learning disabilities

Learning disabilities affect 351, 000 children in the UK, with over 90% of SEN students attending mainstream schools.

This inclusive incorporation between SEN and mainstream schools is said to be beneficial for developing social skills and improving academic achievement. Adapting your classroom to support learning disabilities may be a new challenge for you so take a look at how this can be done.


Children with learning disabilities are often easily distracted and find it difficult to sit comfortably which can make focusing on learning a challenge. Children can find themselves fidgeting out of boredom or lack of comfort, to combat this try incorporating furniture that allows for slight movement such as rocking, leaning or wobbling. Small toys such as stress balls or sensory mats can also be used to help keep focus.

Holding attention

You may find that children with learning disabilities are more likely to shift their attention to other things going on around them during a lesson. When setting up a workstation for somebody with learning disabilities ensure that you have all of the resources they may need within reaching distance – this will eliminate potential distractions. When setting up the classroom itself it is a good idea to keep the room (or an area of the room) neutral and distraction-free, making sure that the space is neat and organised with minimal displays, neutral temperature and good lighting.

Social interaction

Although these children may require adjustments it is crucial to keep them interacting with the rest of their peers so as not to make them feel excluded. Encouraging all peers to play together and communicate will develop social skills and help children understand the uniqueness of everybody. Staff must also be prepared to provide the additional support that those with learning disabilities need, from educational support to forming intentional relationships with the child and their family.

This week is #LearningDisabilityWeek and the theme this year is #DoYouSeeMe? Focussing on giving those with learning disabilities the opportunity to be seen, heard and valued. For more information and ways to get involved visit Mencap.

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