Happy Learners Glossary M-N

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Glossary of terms and abbreviations M-N

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The ability to recall previous events, experiences and learning. The structures of the brain that enable this to happen. See article on memory for more information.


A self-awareness of our strengths and difficulties with learning. Developing metacognition is important to become an effective life long learner.


Mindfulness is the act of taking care of your mental health through self-awareness, relaxation, positive thinking and sometimes meditation.


Communicating to another person that they are in your thoughts and you are there to help and support them even when you are away. It links to attunement between parent and child where the parent is alert and responsive to the child's emotional and mental well-being. It is particularly applied to its use as an approach to support children with emotional or social difficulties. Here, the key worker establishes a trusting relationship by being regularly available and taking all opportunities to communicate warmth, understanding and liking verbally and non-verbally.


The state of reflecting back to another person their emotional or mental state. It is important for staff working with distressed and anxious individuals that they avoid mirroring them. This is particularly so in schools when staff are managing angry students.


Moderate Learning Difficulty.

Moderate Learning Difficulty

An individual with MLD will have global difficulties impacting on their ability to acquire language, literacy and numeracy skills. They may also have difficulties with coordiation and perception.

Morsicatio Buccarum

The medical name for the behaviour of repeatedly biting the inside of the cheeks. Where no physiological reason for the behaviour is found it is possible that it is a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder.


The process of sheathing nerve cells with myelin, a fatty white substance that insulates the nerve fibres and enables faster communication. This process is essential for learning and is not completed until late adolescence. You may be interested in the article on understanding the brain.



A person who tends to experience a lot of negative feelings and emotions such as anger, anxiety, depression and guilt.


A chemical messenger that communicates between nerve cells.

Newson's Syndrome

This is another name for Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome. After Elizabeth Newson who originally identified the condition.


This is our ability to sense pain. Our perception of pain can vary due to the amount of attention we pay to it and also the natural variance in sensitivity between and within individuals.

Nocturnal Enuresis

The medical term for bed wetting. Wetting the bed is normal for most children until 8 years. Up to a quarter of children will experience occassional bed wetting beyond this age. It is more common in boys than girls and most children will have stopped by the time they reach puberty. Advice should be sought for a child over 8 who regularly wets the bed.

Norwood's Law of Social Consequences

An idea that states that every social action will have both positive and negative consequences. In social behaviour no action can be considered completely good or evil because there will be some contrasting outcomes which either harm or benefit others.


A medical term for a woman who has never given birth to a surviving baby. Usually applied to women who have had repeated unsuccessful pregnancies.

Non Verbal Communication

Non verbal communication includes all the gestures, facial expressions and body language that we make when interacting with others. Some individuals, such as those with autism, can have difficulties understanding non-verbal communication.