Dyslexia is one of a group of specific learning difficulties. These difficulties have an effect on the processing of information. These difficulties, such as dyscalculia, dyspraxia and ADHD/ADD can often be diagnosed at the same time as a diagnosis of dyslexia, hence the name ‘co-occurring difficulties’.
These difficulties are unrelated to intelligence but may have a neurological origin and are often hereditary.
Dyspraxia – Developmental Co-ordination Disorder ( DCD )
Students diagnosed with dyspraxia find it difficult to acquire the movement skills that are expected of them in everyday life. These difficulties are not linked to a general delay in development but these students may have difficulty in co-ordinating their movements, perceptions and thoughts.
They may exhibit difficulty with everyday tasks such as buttoning shirts and using a knife and fork, and may confuse left and right. This difficulty can be quite obvious when the child is playing, running, jumping and catching a ball.
Organisational skills and self-help may be difficult. A student may find it difficult to remember what equipment is needed for particular activities and will typically mislay their belongings at school.
At home, they may be untidy and slow at tasks that require fine/gross motor skills. Children may have an inability to recognise potential dangers ( e.g. a kettle of boiling water ). Students can have a lot of oral information but are unable to record that information in a logical or meaningful order.
ADHD ( Attention Deficit Hyperactivty Disorder )
Children with ADHD find it difficult to control their behaviour. ADHD is characterised by poor sustained attention, impaired impulse control, an inability to delay gratification and excessive task irrelevant activity. In a classroom, a student with ADHD may behave inappropriately, they may be restless, leave their seat, run or climb, have difficulties playing or engaging in tasks quietly or may often talk excessively.
As the child is often restless, they may also find it difficult to listen, remember and follow-through on schoolwork and instructions. Students often don’t see the task/activity through to the end as they are easily distracted and have difficulty organising materials required for learning tasks.
This may be described as ADHD without the hyperactivity. This is characterised by memory problems, excessive day-dreaming, cognitive slugishness, frequent staring and lethargy.
Students can have problems awaiting their turn and may frequently and unwittingly interrupt others.
Dyscalculia primarily affects the learning process in relation to maths. There are 2 types of dyscalculia:
- Type 1: Developmental Dyscalculia – Students will perform below expectations with no obvious explanation available.
- Type 2: Dyscalculia – Students exhibit a complete inability to manage mathemathical concepts and numbers.
Dyslexia and dyscalculia may co-exist, but not all students with dyslexia will have a problem with maths. However, if the maths problem is one with text that the student has to read, this may cause difficulties for the student with dyslexia due to the fact that it is text rather than numbers.