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Dyslexia is probably the most well known of the Specific Learning Difficulties. It primarily affects literacy skills, but can impact on organization, processing speed and working memory. Dyslexia is not linked to intelligence. The British Dyslexia Association define dyslexia as;

“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. Dyslexia occurs across the range of intellectual abilities. It is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points. Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor co-ordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia.

A good indication of the severity and persistence of dyslexic difficulties can be gained by examining how the individual responds or has responded to well-founded intervention.


In addition to these characteristics: The British Dyslexia Association (BDA) acknowledges the visual and auditory processing difficulties that some individuals with dyslexia can experience, and points out that dyslexic readers can show a combination of abilities and difficulties that affect the learning process. Some also have strengths in other areas, such as design, problem solving, creative skills, interactive skills and oral skills.” BDA (2010)


 Everyone’s experience of dyslexia is different, but the following could be signs of dyslexia in older children and adults,

  • Confusing words which look similar

  • Spell erratically

  • Finding it hard to skim or scan text.

  • Having to re-read to understand what you have read.

  • Working slowly when reading or writing

  • Struggling to record your thoughts or knowledge on paper.

  • Having difficulty organising thoughts on paper.

  • Written work does not match verbal skills and knowledge.

  • Struggling to listen and remain focused or concentrate if there if there are distractions.

  • Feeling mentally overloaded and switching off

  • Difficulty telling left from right.

  • Becoming confused when given several instructions at once

  • Forgetting conversations or important dates

  • Difficulties with organisation, time management and prioritising

  • Avoiding certain types of work or study

  • Finding some things very easy and others unexpectedly hard


More information on dyslexia can be found here


British Dyslexia Association (


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