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People with one SpLD (DCD, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia or ADHD) are more likely to be affected with another. We should not focus too much on 'adding labels' as this may muddy the picture but identifying problem areas precisely will ensure support is not misaligned and that needs are clearly communicated. 

Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder):

  • Dyspraxia often co-occurs with dyslexia and affects motor coordination and planning.

  • Individuals with dyspraxia may experience difficulties with fine and gross motor skills, such as handwriting, tying shoelaces, or participating in sports.

  • DCD will affect activities such as writing, organisation, and physical coordination and can affect participation in otherwise enjoyable activities. Students with DCD are at risk of underperforming without support.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):

  • ADHD commonly coexists with dyslexia and involves difficulties with attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

  • Individuals with ADHD may struggle to maintain focus, control impulses, and regulate activity levels.

  • This can all have an impact on academic performance, organisation, and social interactions.

Dyscalculia:

  • Dyscalculia is a SpLD that affects mathematical skills and understanding.

  • Individuals with dyscalculia may struggle with basic numeracy concepts, such as counting, recognising numbers, or understanding mathematical operations.

  • It is important to consider 'Maths Anxiety' as an alternative cause for slow progress. Dyslexia can also create many problems in Maths for some.  Not just with reading 'word problems'. 

Some other things to be aware of:

Anxiety can result from undiagnosed SpLDs but also create additional problems, creating a cycle:

  • Cognitive Impairment: Anxiety can impair concentration and memory, making it difficult to focus on learning tasks and retain information.

  • Reduced Engagement: High levels of anxiety can lead to avoidance behaviours, causing students to disengage from learning activities and miss out on valuable educational opportunities.

  • Negative Self-Perception: Chronic anxiety may result in negative self-talk and low self-esteem, impacting students' confidence in their abilities and willingness to participate in learning activities.

 

Visual Stress/Sensitivity could also be affecting people when reading:

  • Distorted Perception: Visual stress can cause distortions in the perception of text and images, making it challenging to read and process information accurately.

  • Physical Discomfort: Sensitivity to visual stimuli such as bright lights or certain patterns can lead to physical discomfort or headaches, further hindering learning.

  • Reduced Visual Attention: Visual stress may lead to difficulties in maintaining visual attention, affecting the ability to sustain focus during reading and other visual tasks.

Please use this Visual Stress Screening Questionnaire VSSQ LINK if you think this may be a problem area.  You can submit this to me and email me for an evaluation.  Generally, if you have more than three symptoms regularly, you may benefit from a visual stress assessment.  These are now quite widely available.  This is a separate issue from dyslexia, but many people with dyslexia also seem to suffer from visual stress.  

                                                                   Support and Interventions

  • Early identification and assessment of co-occurring SpLDs and conditions will be important for providing targeted support and interventions.

  • Individualised support plans, accommodations, and assistive technologies can help mitigate the challenges associated with SpLDs and co-occurring conditions.

  • Collaboration between teachers, parents, healthcare professionals, and relevant specialists is essential for developing comprehensive support strategies tailored to the individual needs of each person.

Here's an introduction to CBT which is a proven methodology for supporting anxiety and depression related to SpLDs.  This video is a fun introduction by 'How to ADHD'  aimed at their target audience and gives a good explanation of the value of this approach. 

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