If you struggle with reading, writing, or maths and you are worried your child isn’t coping at school, learning difficulties can leave us feeling stressed, left out, and unable to progress.
A learning difficulty, or ‘specific learning difference (SpLD)’, means the brain does not take in and process information in typical ways. Even though SpLDs affect your education, they are not about intellect. Many individuals with SpLDs are bright, meaning their struggles can at first be overlooked.
Learning Difficulty in children can look like:
- falling behind other students in certain areas and ‘feeling stupid’
- seeing learning as ‘boring’ and not wanting to do homework
- overachieving in other ways, such as being very creative or chatty
- frustration with learning that might lead to behavioural issues.
In adults, learning difficulties can manifest as:
- avoiding reading, writing, or numbers
- struggles in the workplace
- anxiety and stress over daily tasks like banking, filling out forms
- memory, time, and organisation difficulties
- strained relationships as you feel misunderstood.
The learning difficulties recognised in the UK are dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia. Many people have symptoms of several of these, so you might be given an umbrella diagnosis of ‘specific learning difference’, or SpLD.
Dyslexia – The official UK definition of dyslexia offered by the British Psychological Society is of “a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed.”
Dyspraxia – A common dual diagnosis with ADHD or autism, dyspraxia is also known as ‘developmental coordination disorder’, or DCD. As well as causing problems with things like balance, spatial awareness, and hand-eye coordination, it also affects memory and can cause difficulties with remembering and organising time.
Dysgraphia – This learning difficulty involves the connection between language and motor skills. Handwriting, spelling, and putting thoughts on paper can all be a challenge.
Dyscalculia – When it’s numbers and symbols that are confusing the diagnosis can be dyscalculia. As well as maths difficulties, it can lead to not understanding money, time, scheduling, or quantities.
Testing for a specific learning difference is more than just a diagnosis, it’s about helping you reach your potential. An assessment can:
- identify your strengths as well as what you need support with
- find your unique learning style
- create strategies for learning and moving forward
- develop a plan to access appropriate support
- raise your self-esteem and confidence.
A learning difficulty diagnosis can bring desperately needed awareness and support to you and your family. If you are at all worried, why not get in touch to discuss your concerns?