Other Difficulties

‘Specific learning difficulty’ is an umbrella term sometimes used as a synonym for dyslexia but also includes the following:

  • Dyscalculia
  • Dysgraphia
  • Dyspraxia (DCD)
  • Attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD or ADHD)
  • Asperger Syndrome


As with any disability, no two individuals experience the same combination of difficulties and some people may exhibit signs of more than one SpLD.
Dyscalculia is characterised by difficulties with mathematical skills. People with dyscalculia may have normal language ability for the printed word but do not notice their common mistakes such as transposing, omitting and reversing numbers.  Their approach to solving number problems may appear unconventional and limitations may be shown in the sequencing of calculations. They may have difficulty with abstract concepts of time, shape, space and direction, following sequential instructions, with the sequence of events and memory for names. They may lack “big picture” thinking, are confused by timetables and may often be late. They may have a poor sense of direction and can become lost.

Useful links:
The Dyscalculia and Dyslexia Interest Group
BDA – Dyscalculia, Dyslexia and Maths
The Dyscalculia Centre


Dysgraphia is a difficulty in writing resulting in written work which may be illegible and inaccurately spelled. Script may feature irregular letter sizes and shapes, a mixture of upper and lower case letters or of print and cursive letters.  Dysgraphia contributes to difficulties in using writing as a communication tool, causes fatigue and interferes with the communication of ideas.  Written work appears at variance with the person’s intelligence or their ability to read.  People with dysgraphia often lack coordination and fine motor skills.

Useful links:

Dyspraxia /DCD

Dyspraxia or Developmental Cordination Disorder characteristically involves difficulties with gross and/or fine motor movements, co-ordination, spatial awareness, perception, language, short-term memory, planning and organisation. Dyspraxia may also be associated with other specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, ADD, ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome. As a result of the difficulties they experience, people with dyspraxia may be prone to stress and anxiety.

Useful links:
Dyspraxia Foundation


Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are characterised by disruptive behaviours that cannot be described as being of a psychiatric nature. People with ADD/ADHD have difficulty focussing their attention for long enough to complete a specific task, can be hyperactive and impulsive, and can suffer from mood swings and have under-developed social skills.  There is research evidence showing that those with ADD are at higher risk of depression or anxiety whilst those with ADHD are more prone to behavioural problems.

Useful links:

Asperger Syndrome

Asperger Syndrome (also known as high functioning autism) gives rise to a variety of characteristics along a range of severity which may include difficulty dealing with change and difficulty reading non-verbal clues. The former can cause unexpected responses to surroundings and the latter gives rise to problems with social interactions. People with Asperger Syndrome (AS) may become preoccupied with a particular subject of interest or develop obsessive routines and may find it difficult to focus on a particular task. Difficulty in discriminating between relevant and irrelevant information, a literal approach to written work, acute anxiety and dyspraxia are more common in people with AS.

Useful links: