ExcelLearn, Philip Roseblade, Alison Roseblade, Specific Learning Difficulties, dyslexia


Definitions of Specific Learning Difficulties


What is Dyslexia?... ExcelLearn, Philip Roseblade, Alison Roseblade, Specific Learning Difficulties, dyslexia


What is Dyscalculia?...
a What is Dysgraphia? ...
a What is Dyspraxia?...
a What is ADHD?...
a What is Asperger Syndrome?...
What is Dyslexia?

The word 'dyslexia' comes from the Greek language and means 'difficulty with words'. Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that mainly affects reading, writing and spelling.

Dyslexia is characterised by difficulties experienced in learning the relationship between the sounds of spoken language and their written representation. Other notable symptoms are difficulties with short term and working memory, sequencing, rapid naming, processing speed and organisational skills.

These processing difficulties can undermine the acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills, the ability to read musical notation, and also have an effect on verbal communication and self-organisation skills. The current evidence suggests that these difficulties arise from inefficiencies in language-processing areas in the left hemisphere of the brain which, in turn, appear to be linked to genetic differences. 

Dyslexia is life-long, but its effects can be minimised by targeted literacy intervention, technological support and adaptations to ways of working and learning. Some treatments and activities to improve Neural Integration may be used to alleviate the difficulties associated with Dyslexia.

Dyslexia is not related to intelligence, race or social background. Dyslexia varies in severity and often occurs alongside other specific learning difficulties, such as Dyspraxia or Attention Deficit Disorder, resulting in variation in the degree and nature of individuals’ strengths and weaknesses.

What is Dyscalculia?

The word 'dyscalculia' comes from the Greek language and means 'difficulty with numbers'.

The DfES defines dyscalculia as: ‘A condition that affects the ability to acquire arithmetical skills. Dyscalculic learners may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers, and have problems learning number facts and procedures. Even if they produce a correct answer or use a correct method, they may do so mechanically and without confidence.’

Unlike dyslexia, very little is known about its prevalence, causes or treatment. Current thinking suggests that it is a congenital condition, caused by the abnormal functioning of a specific area of the brain. People with dyscalculia experience great difficulty with the most basic aspects of numbers and arithmetic.

What is Dysgraphia?

Dysgraphia (or Agraphia) is the inability to write properly. Dysgraphia refers specifically to the inability to perform operations in handwriting. It could be described as an extreme difficulty with fine-motor skills. Fine-motor skills are essential for good writing. Students with dysgraphia, may have difficulties with the simplest of writing tasks; their handwriting will barely be legible; the writing will appear incorrect; distorted; have letters of different sizes and different size spaces between letters. Student’s have particular difficulties following a straight line and keeping to a margin. They can also lack basic spelling skills (having difficulties recognising and orienting similar letters such as  p,q,b,d), and often will write the wrong word when trying to formulate thoughts (on paper).

What is Dyspraxia?

 The word 'dyspraxia' comes from the Greek language and means 'difficulty with doing/acting'.

Developmental dyspraxia is an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement. It is an immaturity in the way that the brain processes information, which results in messages not being properly or fully transmitted.

Dyspraxia affects the planning of what to do and how to do it. It is associated with problems of perception, language and thought.

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) refer to a range of problem behaviours associated with poor attention span.

These may include impulsiveness, restlessness and hyperactivity, as well as inattentiveness, and often prevent children from learning and socialising well. ADHD is sometimes referred to as hyperkinetic disorder. ADHD is a clearly defined clinical condition and not just a label for naughty or badly brought up children. ADHD is diagnosed when a child exhibits, over an extended period of time, abnormally high levels of:

Inattention (short attention span, easily distracted, doesn't finish things, disorganised, forgetful etc)


Hyperactivity and impulsiveness (fidgets, can't sit still, always on the go, talks too much, interrupts, can't wait their turn etc).

What is Asperger Syndrome?

Asperger Syndrome was first identified over 50 years ago by Hans Asperger, a Viennese paediatrician. Asperger syndrome is a condition that affects the way a person communicates and relates to others.  It is a Pervasive Developmental Disorder that falls within the autistic spectrum. It is a life-long condition, which affects about 1 in 200 people, more commonly in men than women. Those with Asperger 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. Children, predominantly boys, may also display patterns of behaviours including lack of empathy, impaired imagination, difficulty in making friends, intense absorption in a special interest and often problems with motor co-ordination. People with Asperger syndrome usually have fewer problems with language than those with autism, often speaking fluently, though their words can sometimes sound formal or stilted.

Whilst people with Asperger Syndrome will exhibit some or all of these characteristics to a greater or lesser degree, many 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.