Information about learning and learning difficulties

Niilo Mäki Institute studies learning difficulties of children and adolescents. The aim of the research is to better understand the factors that affect development and learning. The goal of the development work is to find ways to prevent, assess, and rehabilitate learning difficulties to make people’s everyday lives and learning easier.

Our key areas of research include learning to read and reading disabilities, spelling and writing disabilities, mathematical learning disabilities, difficulties in executive functions and attention deficits, developmental coordination disorders, borderline intellectual functioning , the assessment of learning disabilities, and rehabilitation.


  • Learning difficulties manifest as a slow or abnormal acquisition of skills.
  • Approximately 5% to 10% of children have learning disabilities.
  • Learning disabilities are usually detected already during early childhood as difficulties in motor functions, language development, maintaining attention, and conceptualization, among other things.
  • At school age, learning disabilities manifest as problems in learning the basic skills of reading, understanding what you have read, spelling and writing, and calculation, or as difficulties in executive functions and maintaining attention.
  • Many children continue to exhibit symptoms of learning disabilities well into adulthood, making everyday tasks and education challenging.
  • The best way to facilitate a child’s learning and support their development is through special education, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and neuropsychological rehabilitation.