Mentally handicapped children are fairly readily identified by the experienced clinical eye, and even a very brief encounter indicates that these children have learning difficulties of a very generalised sort. Indeed this has now become so widely accepted that the concept of learning difficulty has become the kernel of the definition of special educational needs in the 1981 Education Act. But an important qualification must be made, since a learning difficulty is not viewed as a deficit that is something which is ‘within the child’ but is seen as a problem that is at least partly related to the provision that is made. Thus some children, who might be described as experiencing learning difficulties – but would almost certainly not be severely mentally handicapped – may be helped to overcome, perhaps completely, their learning difficulties if the curriculum with which they are presented is structured appropriately, both in terms of content and method of presentation, in order to meet their individual needs.