Cognition refers to the thinking skills and thought processes that a young person has acquired through their prior experience. All young people are individual and learn at differing rates. If a young person is not making adequate progress, assessment over time will provide information about the specific skill areas that require development and the most effective teaching and interventions to implement. Schools need to consider how to change the quality of what happens in the immediate environment to best support the young person’s learning, taking into account the individual, the home and the wider community. The young person’s response to intervention needs to be evaluated over time before any conclusions are drawn about longer-term educational needs.
Learning needs are on a continuum and can vary across subjects and situations. They can be general (e.g. difficulties across the curriculum with strengths in some areas) or specific, affecting one or more specific aspect of learning, (e.g. literacy difficulties, numeracy difficulties or specific language impairment). Needs may be short-term in one or more areas or severe and long term.