Menu Close

Key Information: SpLDs

Students with dyslexia and dyspraxia may have some common difficulties in terms of sequencing and structuring and visual tracking and memory but whereas dyslexic students are likely to also have difficulties with phonology and auditory memory, students with dyspraxia are more likely to will be impacted by special and motor skills. In addition, a high number of students (around 25%) are likely to be diagnosed as both dyspraxic and dyslexic. It is likely that there is a similar co-existence of dyscalculia and dyslexia.   



Students with dyslexia can possess the following strengths:

  • Creative and original thinking.
  • Good strategic thinking and problem-solving.
  • Determined and hard-working.
  • Highly motivated.
  • Many have developed their own strategies to overcome some of their difficulties.

Because of their language processing and short-term memory difficulties, dyslexic students rely heavily on meaning and understanding, which requires:

  • A highly personalised approach to learning,
  • A need to have the learning process and conventions made explicit,
  • A need to understand how and why in order to learn.

Many, but not necessarily all, of the following learning styles could apply to dyslexic students:

  • Thinking holistically (all at once) rather than step by step.
  • Needing to see the whole ‘picture’ first before learning the steps or details.
  • Difficulty remembering sequences but not patterns.
  • Good at seeing how lots of things are connected, how things work.
  • Difficulty memorising things except when something is really understood or there is a personal connection.
  • Learning by experience, not from being told.
  • Concrete tactile learning and learning better with the help of colour, humour, stories, images, etc.
  • Difficulty learning or applying rules or generalisations – learning from the particular to the general.
  • Finding it easier to read and write if there is a personal interest in the subject matter.
  • In mathematics, often understanding concepts but not calculation processes or mathematical language.


Students with dyspraxia can possess the following strengths:

  • Creative and original thinking.
  • Good strategic thinking and problem-solving.
  • Determined and hard-working.
  • Highly motivated.
  • Able to develop their own strategies to overcome difficulties.

Students may experience difficulties in some, or all, of the following areas:

  • Gross motor skills: poor performance in sport, general clumsiness, poor balance, and difficulties in learning skills involving coordination of body parts, e.g. riding a bike or swimming.
  • Manual and practical work: problems using computer keyboards and mice, frequent spills in the laboratory and elsewhere, difficulty measuring accurately, slow, poor or illegible handwriting, messy presentation/work and problems with craft-work, cookery, etc.
  • Personal presentation and spatial skills: untidy and rumpled appearance, clumsy gait, poor posture, frequent bumping into things and tripping over and can be poor at sport, especially team and ball games.
  • Memory and attention span: poor attention span, poor short-term memory, easily distracted in class, especially by noise and bright lights, difficulty following class discussions, slow retrieval of information, especially when under stress; may become disorientated e.g. getting lost in buildings and in new environments.
  • Written expression: erratic spelling and punctuation, awkward and confused sentence structure, poor proof-reading, inclusion of irrelevant material in essays and may be slow to complete work.
  • Visual and oral skills: trouble keeping place while reading and writing (tracking problems), poor relocating – cannot easily look from blackboard/overhead to notes, difficulty word finding, and wrong pronunciation of newly-introduced words, speaking indistinctly, loudly, fast or slowly, interrupting inappropriately and difficulty learning foreign languages.
  • Numerical and mathematical skills: tendency to reverse and mistype numbers, signs or decimal points, frequent and apparently careless mistakes, particular difficulty with geometry – both drawing and using equipment such as a compass or protractor and difficulty with spatial awareness e.g. drawing shapes, graphs, tables, etc.
  • Social, communication and emotional difficulties: problems with oral interaction and communication, low self-esteem and lack of confidence, frustration, defensiveness or aggression, over-talkative and excitable behaviour, withdrawn and reserved or may experience anxiety, stress and depression.


Common issues experienced by students with Dyscalculia may include: 

  • Counting,
  • Understanding relationships between numbers
  • Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing
  • Maths/number anxiety

Print This Page Print This Page

Translate »