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Specific Learning Difficulties - Schools Information and Resources

Children with Additional Literacy Needs/Dyslexia

Definitions:  What is Dyslexia?  

Children learn to read and write at different speeds.  However, there are some children who experience persistent difficulties with these skills, in spite of the teaching and support they receive.  These children may have the specific learning difficulty of dyslexia. 

The British Psychological Society defines dyslexia as follows: 

  • Dyslexia is evident when accurate and fluent word reading and/or spelling develops very incompletely or with great difficulty. 

The British Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia as follows:

  • Dyslexia is 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 (hearing and manipulating sounds in words), 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 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. 

Further information regarding indicators of possible dyslexia can be found on the British Dyslexia Association website.

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