Learning Problems and Impairments

The master’s specialisation in Learning Problems and Impairments offers you a combination of theories about learning problems and impairments, diagnostic skills and intervention and prevention strategies from a developmental perspective.

Learning Problems and Impairments is one of the eight specialisations of the Master’s programme in Education and Child Studies that you can choose at Leiden University.

More than 15% of all school age children have learning problems. They experience severe difficulties in learning one or more basic skills or fail to meet general requirements. Preschools and schools for primary and secondary education need professionals who can define the problems and find evidence based solutions.

During this specialisation you’ll learn to recognize and treat common learning problems such as dyslexia, hyperlexia and dyscalculia, as well as learning problems caused by ADHD, ADD, or speech and language disorders. The training focuses on the knowledge and skills required for research, teaching or clinical practice.

Why choose this specialisation at Leiden University?

The Learning Problems and Impairments programme is intended for you, if you wish to:

  • Acquire in depth knowledge about a socially crucial topic. School dropout and low literacy have serious economic consequences, and on a personal level learning problems cause suffering;
  • Familiarize yourself with learning processes in children aged 3 to 18, and the factors that may cause learning disabilities;
  • Learn about the promises of technology in home and educational contexts delivered via computers, tablets, smartphones or the Internet;
  • Practise clinical skills that enable decision making based on diagnostic research;
  • Design and test action plans;
  • Design and test interventions in order to close the gap between high and low achievers at an early stage.

NVO registration – only applicable for Dutch students

De Leidse Masterspecialisatie Leerproblemen voldoet, in combinatie met de Leidse bacheloropleiding Pedagogische Wetenschappen – specialisatie Leerproblemen, aan alle eisen die gesteld worden door de Nederlandse Vereniging van Pedagogen en Onderwijskundigen (NVO) voor de registratie Basis-Orthopedagoog. Ook is het mogelijk de NVO Basisaantekening diagnostiek te behalen.

Als je elders een universitaire bacheloropleiding Pedagogische Wetenschappen hebt behaald, kun je, soms na het behalen van een of enkele extra vakken, ook in aanmerking komen voor de klinische NVO-registraties.

Master details

  • This is a specialisation of: Education and Child Studies
  • Degree Master of Science in Education and Child Studies
  • Mode of study Full-time and part-time. Part-time study is not possible for students requiring a visa or residence permit.
  • Duration 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
  • Start date September, February
  • Language of instruction English
  • Location Leiden
  • Croho/isat code 60396

Prof. Adriana Bus

“Students need to develop an eye for the talents and interests of children and for how children cope with everything.”

“When young children first go to school, most can’t really read, write or solve basic math problems, but nearly all of them have already built up a whole repertoire of relevant knowledge and insights. You rarely see children just improvising when you ask them to write down their name or to solve a maths problem. If anything, my scientific studies have made me more aware of how impressive a child’s natural curiosity for anything to do with letters and numbers really is. Just like older children, they already have the skills to give value to what they are doing. They want to do well in school and they are constantly looking for ways to get to grips with telling the time, spelling difficult words, remembering their multiplication tables or memorising French words.
It’s crucial that our students try to understand how children who struggle in school approach the challenges they are given. Students need to develop an eye for the talents and interests of children and for how children cope with everything. That can be quite a challenge, as the literature doesn’t provide all the answers. You need to have an eye for it too, so the programme contains a lot of practical assignments as well.”

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