We use the term 'learning difference' to refer to dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties (SpLDs). Everyone has their own learning style and prefers to learn in different ways. No one person is the same and we do not like to put people into 'boxes', as everybody learns in different ways. The term 'neuro-diverse' means that learning differences can sometimes overlap each other.
If you think that you may have dyslexia and/or another learning difference, please take the time to look at the information below and consider booking an SpLD screening if it feels applicable.
This is the current working definition of dyslexia from the British Dyslexia Association:
"Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty which mainly affects the development of literacy and language skills.
It is likely to present at birth and to be lifelong in its effect. It is characterised by difficulties with phonological processing, rapid naming, working memory, processing speed, and the automatic development of skills that may not match up to an individual's other cognitive abilities.
It tends to be resistant to conventional teaching methods, but its effect can be mitigated by appropriately specific intervention, including the application of information technology and supportive counselling."
Research shows that dyslexia is independent to a person's level of intelligence. Many people with dyslexia find that they are creative and holistic thinkers, have effective problem-solving skills and are good at understanding others. Research on dyslexia is now well-established and it is widely accepted. The government and universities have put funding in place to provide students with dyslexia the opportunities to achieve their full potential.
Dyslexia can affect the following areas:
- Writing (planning and organisation, grammar, sentence structure and punctuation)
- Short-term memory
- Sequencing (months of the year/days of the week)
- Time management.
This list is not exhaustive and different people can experience difficulties in some areas more than others.
Dyspraxia, sometimes referred to as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), is associated with the development of motor-skills and can affect movement and coordination. Dyspraxia is independent of a person's level of intelligence. It is neuro-diverse and often co-occurring with other learning differences, such as dyslexia.
As a child, dyspraxia can affect:
- Learning to ride a bike
- Using a knife and fork
- Catching and throwing a ball
- Left and right orientation
- Handwriting ability
- Organisational skills.
As an adult, dyspraxia can affect:
- Short-term memory
- Organisational skills
- Organisation of written work
- Bumping into things/knocking things over
- Driving a car.
"Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is a genetically determined condition that affects those parts of the brain that control attention, impulses and concentration. It is thought to affect three to seven per cent of school age children. The best description for ADHD is that a child who suffers from this condition shows disruptive behaviours which cannot be explained by any other psychiatric condition and are not in keeping with those of the same-aged people with similar intelligence and development. These behaviours are usually first noticed in early childhood, and they are more extreme than simple 'misbehaving'. Children with ADHD have difficulty focusing their attention to complete a specific task. Additionally they can be hyperactive and impulsive and can suffer from mood swings and 'social clumsiness'." (ADHD Information Services (ADDISS))
It is acknowledged that some people can experience less 'hyperactivity', which is why there is a differentiation between ADHD and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Originally thought of as a childhood disorder, it has recently been acknowledged that it can continue into adulthood. ADHD in adults may affect:
- Focus on a task
- Time management
- Communicating with others.
"Asperger's Syndrome is a Pervasive Developmental Disorder that falls within the autistic spectrum. It is a lifelong condition, which affects about one in 200 people, more commonly men than women. Those with Asperger's Syndrome are usually of average or above average intelligence.
The condition is characterised by difficulties with Social Interaction, Social Communication and Flexibility of Thinking or Imagination. In addition, there may be sensory, motor and organisational difficulties.
This condition was first identified over 50 years ago by Hans Asperger, a Viennese paediatrician.
A pattern of behaviours and abilities was identified, predominantly amongst boys, including a lack of empathy, impaired imagination, difficulty in making friends, intense absorption in a special interest and often problems with motor co-ordination.
Whilst people with Asperger's Syndrome will exhibit some or all of these characteristics to a greater or lesser degree, may tend to experience isolation and a lack of understanding in their everyday lives, which often results in frustration, anger, depression and a lack of self-esteem." (The Asperger's Syndrome Foundation)
Asperger's Syndrome is neuro-diverse and can co-occur with ADHD and dyslexia. People with Asperger's are often extremely hardworking, committed and dependable.
In a study situation, Asperger's can affect:
- Concentration (noise and smells can be distracting)
- Social interaction and communication
- Handwriting skills (note-taking)
- Keeping to subject (can 'veer off' or focus too much on one thing).
Unfortunately, we are unable to screen for Asperger's Syndrome, but please come and talk to us if you are experiencing difficulties. Your GP can refer you for a diagnostic assessment.
If you have a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, please contact us to register, so that you can access one-to-one specialist support.