About dyslexia and dyspraxia

Dyslexia affects skills involved in reading, writing and spelling. 

Dyslexia is what is called a specific learning difficulty. This means it affects only some skills and abilities, and is not linked to the general level of intelligence of the person who has it.

It is thought to be caused by problems in the way the brain processes information and this results in messages not being properly or fully transmitted.

People who have dyslexia generally have difficulties in some or all of the following areas:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Spelling
  • Maths
  • Understanding sequences and patterns
  • Knowing left from right, map reading skills
  • Organisation
  • Short term memory
  • Speaking and language skills.

Dyslexia can often exist alongside other related conditions, including autistic spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactiivty disorder (ADHD) and dyspraxia.

If dyslexia is not recognised or the person is not well supported, it can cause  low self-esteem, anger, behavioural problems and other issues. Young people may feel they are stupid or worthless, and will never succeed in life. They may get very frustrated and bored when confronted with tasks they find difficult, and can react by playing up, distracting others or refusing to take part.

It is really important to recognise the emotional impact dyslexia may be having, and to try and support the child with this.

Dyspraxia affects movement and co-ordination. Like dyslexia, it is a specific learning difficulty, which means it only affects some skills and abilities, and is not linked to the general level of intelligence of the person who has it.

The cause may be that systems for processing information in the brain are not fully developed and messages not transmitted properly. Estimates put the number of children experiencing the condition at between two and 10 per cent of the population. Boys are four times more likely to be affected than girls.

People who have dyspraxia generally have difficulties in some or all of the following areas:

  • Balance
  • Co-ordination
  • Dressing and eating skills
  • Following instructions
  • Organisation and short term memory
  • Speaking and listening
  • Holding pens/pencils and handwriting
  • Social skills and friendships.

Children with dyspraxia are often slow to develop skills such as sitting up, crawling and walking. They may take longer than other children to learn skills such as riding a bike, may run in an awkward way and can often fall over or fall off seats. They may also be oversensitive to noises, lights, touch and other stimuli. Their language difficulties can make it harder to make friends and communicate, and they can be very literal in the way they understand things, and find it hard to play and think imaginatively.

Dyspraxia can often exist alongside other related conditions, including autistic spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia.

If dyspraxia is not recognised or the person is not well supported, it can cause problems such as low self-esteem, anger, behavioural problems and other issues. Young people may feel stupid or clumsy, and may be bullied by others. They may get very frustrated and upset when confronted with the tasks they find difficult, and can react by playing up, distracting others or refusing to take part.

It is really important to recognise the emotional impact dyspraxia may be having, and to try and support the child with this.