Supporting students with dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, or ADHD

The following disabilities are often categorised under the generic term of ‘Specific Learning Differences’ (SpLD).

If you have identified a student you suspect may have a SpLD you should direct them to the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service where the assessment process can be discussed and supported.


Possible effects on student’s learning

The effects on individuals may not be consistent and can vary considerably according to the demands of the working environment. They may include:

  • poor retention of verbal information and instructions
  • problems in summarizing information, particularly from books or in written form
  • difficulty taking notes other than verbatim, especially whilst simultaneously listening
  • slow rate of reading, possibly including missed/repeated words or lines, relatively frequent loss of place in a text
  • inaccurate and inconsistent spelling
  • difficulty in maintaining a coherent and sequential argument in writing
  • problems in planning and organising information as part of a written assignment
  • grammatical errors of sentence structure
  • a slower rate of working, persistently unfinished written examinations
  • problems in absorbing what has been read – a need to re-read texts several times
  • mis-reading the sense of textual information, e.g. examination questions
  • poor concentration, a level of distractibility or susceptibility to extraneous stimuli
  • difficulties transcribing accurately from the board or computer screen (distant vertical plane) to a book (near horizontal plane)
  • difficulties in translating or interpreting information in different formats, e.g. 2-dimensional to 3-dimensional construction, scale drawings, graphs and charts, map orienteering, foreign languages, musical notation, medical/scientific symbols, and shorthand script


Possible effects on student’s learning

  • Many of the difficulties students face are similar to those with dyslexia.
  • Further difficulties with fine motor co-ordination mean that producing legible hand writing, especially under timed conditions such as during lectures and exams, can be near impossible.
  • Students may have developed skills such as typing, producing work only on a computer to overcome this.


Possible effects on student’s learning

  • May have difficulty understanding simple number concepts.
  • May lack an intuitive grasp of numbers.
  • May have problems learning number facts and procedures.
  • May produce a correct answer or use a correct method, but may do so mechanically and without confidence.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Possible effects on student’s learning

  • Short attention span, restlessness or constant fidgeting and being easily distracted.
  • Mood swings and low self-esteem.
  • Social interaction may be affected by impulsive comments.
  • Student with ADHD also have co-occurring specific learning differences.
  • Additional problems such as sleep disorders.