Specific Learning Difficulties

Specific learning difficulties (SpLDs) cover a group of conditions.

Most people will have heard of dyslexia, but if your child struggles more with writing or maths, you may want to investigate dysgraphia or dyscalculia. Your child may have just one condition or could be experiencing problems due to a combination as specific learning difficulties can co-exist with global developmental delay and autistic spectrum disorders. 

Types of Specific Learning Difficulties


At least one child in every class will have dyspraxia, according to the Dyspraxia Foundation.

This developmental co-ordination disorder can mean that your child has problems with:

  • Hand-eye co-ordination.
  • Fine motor movement such as pen control or handling small objects.
  • Putting things in order.

They may struggle with their sense of time or direction and have a poor memory for lists, events or names. Dyspraxia is more likely to occur in boys.


Due to the way their brain processes language, children with dyslexia can have problems with reading, writing and even spoken language. Children can also struggle with order and organisation, finding it harder than their peers to remember lists and tasks. Around 4% of the population may have dyslexia.


If your child is generally bright but cannot get thoughts down on paper, they may have dysgraphia. This condition can mean that a child who communicates ideas well when talking will struggle when asked to put them in writing.


Dyscalculia occurs when a child struggles to get to grips with numbers. They may not have difficulties with all mathematics, but perhaps reverse numbers or have a mental block when it comes to learning sequences, times tables or formulae.

Books related to this article...

Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties: A Parent's Guide