Other Resources

Dyslexia Networking Toolkit

Please view and download our Dyslexia Networking toolkit.


Dyslexia research and background history

Further information on Dyslexia and Related Conditions:

Dyslexia and Specific Learning Difficulties in Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a hidden disability thought to affect around 10% of the population, 4% severely. It is the most common of the Specific Learning Difficulties, a family of related conditions with considerable overlap or co-occurrence. Together these are believed to affect around 15% of people to a lesser or greater extent.

Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) affect the way information is learned and processed. They are neurological (rather than psychological), usually hereditary and occur independently of intelligence. They include:


Contrary to popular misconception, Dyslexia is not only about literacy, although weaknesses in literacy are often the most visible sign. Dyslexia affects the way information is processed, stored and retrieved, with problems of memory, speed of processing, time perception, organisation and sequencing. 

(Return to top)


Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), also known as Dyspraxia in the UK, is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. This condition is formally recognised by international organisations including the World Health Organisation.

DCD is distinct from other motor disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke. The range of intellectual ability is in line with the general population. Individuals may vary in how their difficulties present; these may change over time depending on environmental demands and life experience, and will persist into adulthood.

An individual’s coordination difficulties may affect participation and functioning of everyday life skills in education, work and employment. Children may present with difficulties with self-care, writing, typing, riding a bike, play as well as other educational and recreational activities. In adulthood many of these difficulties will continue, as well as learning new skills at home, in education and work, such as driving a car and DIY.

There may be a range of co-occurring difficulties which can also have serious negative impacts on daily life. These include social emotional difficulties as well as problems with time management, planning and organisation and these may impact an adult’s education or employment experiences.

(Return to top)


Dyscalculia is characterised by an inability to understand simple number concepts and to master basic numeracy skills. There are likely to be difficulties dealing with numbers at very elementary levels; this includes learning number facts and procedures, telling the time, time keeping, understanding quantity, prices and money. Difficulties with numeracy and maths are also common with dyslexia. 

(Return to top)



Signs of Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder include inattention, restlessness, impulsive, erratic, unpredictable and inappropriate behaviour, blurting out inappropriate comments or interrupting excessively. Some people come across unintentionally as aggressive. Most fail to make effective use of feedback.

If no hyperactivity is present, the term Attention Deficit Disorder should be used: these individuals have particular problems remaining focused so may appear 'dreamy' and not to be paying attention. People with this condition are very easily distracted, lose track of what they are doing and have poor listening skills. By failing to pay attention to details, they may miss key points.

Autistic characteristics can co-exist with the conditions described above. Those affected often demonstrate unusual behaviours due to inflexible thinking, over-reliance on routines, a lack of social and communication skills. People with Asperger Syndrome may have learned to largely conceal their problems but still find any social interaction very challenging and panic easily when they cannot cope.

Since Specific Learning Difficulties are still not adequately understood in all schools many children and young people slip through education unidentified and unsupported.

(Return to top)



Be aware that similar terminology can lead to confusion. For example, the term 'Learning Difficulties' is generally applied to people with generalised (as opposed to specific) difficulties who are of low intelligence and often lack mental capacity.

Many people with Specific Learning Difficulties tend to refer to themselves as having a Specific Learning Difference (both generally abbreviated to SpLDs), while others regard a label containing the word 'Learning' as inappropriate when they are no longer in education.

Areas of typical difficulty for all Specific Learning Difficulties

Information Processing

  • Difficulties with taking in information efficiently (this could be written or auditory).
  • Slow speed of information processing, such as a 'penny dropping' delay between hearing something and understanding and responding to it.


  • Poor short term memory for facts, events, times, dates.
  • Poor working memory; i.e. difficulty holding on to several pieces of information while undertaking a task e.g. taking notes as you listen, coping with compound questions.
  • Mistakes with routine information e.g. giving your age or the ages of your children.
  • Inability to hold on to information without referring to notes.

Communication skills

  • Lack of verbal fluency and lack of precision in speech.
  • Word-finding problems.
  • Inability to work out what to say quickly enough.
  • Misunderstandings or misinterpretations during oral exchanges.
  • Over-loud speech (which may come across as aggressive) or murmuring that cannot be clearly heard.
  • Sometimes mispronunciations or a speech impediment may be evident.


  • Lateness or difficulty in acquiring reading and writing skills. Some dyslexic adults have severe literacy problems and may be functionally illiterate.
  • Where literacy has been mastered, residual problems generally remain such as erratic spelling, difficulty extracting the sense from written material, difficulty with unfamiliar words, an inability to scan or skim text.
  • Particular difficulty with unfamiliar types of language such as technical terminology, acronyms.

Sequencing, Organisation and Time Management

  • Difficulty presenting a sequence of events in a logical, structured way.
  • Incorrect sequencing of number and letter strings.
  • Tendency to misplace items; chronic disorganisation.
  • Poor time management: particular difficulties in estimating the passage of time.

Direction and Navigation

  • Difficulty with finding the way to places or navigating the way round an unfamiliar building.


  • Weak listening skills, a limited attention span, problems maintaining focus.
  • A tendency to be easily distracted, inability to remain focused.

Sensory Sensitivity

  • A heightened sensitivity to noise and visual stimuli.
  • Impaired ability to screen out background noise or movement.
  • Sensations of mental overload / switching off.

Lack of awareness

  • Failure to realise the consequences of their speech or actions.
  • Failure to take account of body language.

Missing the implications

Dyslexia Friendly Style Guide

To find out more about best practice when creating dyslexia friendly written communications visit our Dyslexia Friendly Style Guide webpage.

eLearning Module: How to Succeed at Work and Home as a Dyslexic Adult

It is important that, as dyslexics, we take control of our lives and have the tools to do the very best that we can. We also need to work together to help those in our community who have not had many opportunities in life.

This programme runs alongside, but is not identical to, the book written by BDA Joint Chair, Margaret Malpas; “Self Fulfilment with Dyslexia: A Blueprint to Success”. It looks at the ten characteristics that underpin the success of dyslexic individuals, and how these can be developed.

Access this online self-study module.

Resources for Maths

General information sheet produced by BDA Dyscalculia Committee.

BDA New Technologies Committee.

Maths Explained videos produced by Dr. Steve Chinn.

BDA NTC is a committee of the British Dyslexia Association (BDA), who over many years have been concerned with all aspects of technology and how they can assist dyslexic people.

Its website is a wealth of information on accessibility and the different types of technology available.

To find out more and visit the BDA NTC website.

Related Organisations


National and regional centres. How IT can assist disabled people. Information, advice, factsheets. Assessments of IT needs.

Tel: 0800 269 545 (UK home calls only) or 01926 312 847 (from work)
Email: enquiries@abilitynet.co.uk

Attention Deficit Disorder Information Services

Tel: 0208 952 2800
Email: info@addiss.co.uk

ADD/ADHD Online Support Group

ADT: Arts Dyslexia Trust

An advisory service about dyslexia and the visual arts.

Email: adt@artsdyslexiatrust.org

CaF Directory of Specific Conditions & Rare Syndromes in Children

The web lists 800 named conditions and Family Support Networks.

Tel: 020 7608 8700 or helpline 0808 808 35551
Email: www.cafamily.org.uk

The Dyspraxia Foundation

A developmental co-ordination disorder. An SpLD.

Tel: 01462 454 986
Email: admin@dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk

Education Otherwise

A self-help group of families involved in home education.

Tel: 0845 478 6345

The Forces. SSAFA, (Soldiers', Sailors' and Airmen's Families Association)

Tel: 020 7403 8783
Email: info@ssafa.org.uk


Disability and Work

Disability Rights UK

A national organisation/pressure group working with and for disabled people, including students.

Tel: 020 7250 3222

RBLI (Royal British Legion Industries) Employment Service 

Aims to provide employment and training for people with disabilities, regardless of whether or not they have come from and ex-Service background.


Access to Work

Provides advice and practical support to disabled employees to overcome difficulties.


Remploy Interwork 

Aim to expand employment opportunities for disabled people.


Speech delay/deficit

AFASIC: Association for All Speech Impaired Children

Tel: 020 7490 9410 or helpline 08453 55 55 77
Email: info@afasic.org.uk


Tel: 020 7261 9572 or Information Service and Helpline: 080 8808 9572 (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm).
Email: speakability@speakability.org.uk

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists

Information about NHS hospital and clinic provision and independent therapists.

Tel: 020 7378 1200
Email: info@rcslt.org

The Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independant Practice (SALT)

Tel: 01494 488 306

The Stroke Association

Tel: 0303 3033 100
Email: info@stroke.org.uk