Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs)

Specific learning difficulties (SpLDs) such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, is a term used to describe a number of difficulties that impact on the way a person learns and processes information. Sometimes there is identification of specific learning difficulties, rather than dyslexia or dyspraxia because the individual experiences a unique combination of difficulties which cannot be easily categorised but may include features of one or more recognised SpLDs. 

Page contents:

Examples of SpLDs

Dyscalculia: 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. Information about dyscalculia can be found on The Dyslexia Association website

Dysgraphia: a transcription difficulty or writing disorder associated with impaired handwriting. This can be due to the learner’s motor skills or them not understanding the principles of handwriting. Further information can be found on the International Dyslexia association website

Dyslexia: a learning difficulty that mainly affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. More information about dyslexia is available from the British Dyslexia Association. and Dyslexia UK

Dyspraxia: also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), is a common disorder affecting fine motor skills for example writing, or doing buttons up on a coat. Also can affect gross motor coordination from how you move ie. walking, jumping, running around.

The Dyspraxia Foundation can offer further information and support.

These difficulties frequently occur with other conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), visual difficulties, language disorders and social, emotional and mental health needs.

Having a specific learning difficulty does not mean that your child is not intelligent. It can, however, have a significant impact on a person’s education and learning if there is not an understanding of that person’s need and appropriate support.

Seeking advice or referral for assessment

If you have concerns about your child’s progress, you can speak to their teacher and possibly the SENCo at the school or nursery. You can also take your child to a GP in order to check there are no health problems or other conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that are affecting their ability to read or write.  The ADHD Foundation provides further information about ADHD.

In order to request an assessment, you need to discuss with the education setting what interventions have been tried already. If difficulties continue school or yourself can ask for your child to be referred to an educational psychologist.

Further Information

Further information is available from the NHS from their A to Z list of conditions. on different types of learning difficulties