Learning Difficulties Guidance

What does it mean?

Dyslexia literally means "difficulty with words". It affects one in ten of us, some more than others, and famous dyslexics include Jamie Oliver and Richard Branson.

Think you might be dyslexic?

Take a look at the following and see if you recognise any of these indicators:

  • You often have difficulty with reading, writing and spelling. It takes you longer to do these things and you have to work harder than others.
  • Working with numbers, directions and short-term memory may also be affected.
  • You may be much better at talking than you are at writing.
  • You learn best by being "hands on" and trying things out.
  • You are often very good at other stuff like art, drama, music, sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing, building, or engineering.
  • You may get fed up at school as you fall behind in some subjects, or get told you're not trying even when you are.

Being dyslexic doesn't mean you're thick. In fact, you may score very highly on IQ tests - it has nothing to do with intelligence. Dyslexia often runs in families.

What do I do if I have dyslexia?

If you think you have dyslexia, speak to your tutor at GET or your employer. GET can arrange for a external company to test you for dyslexia.

How is dyslexia treated?

If you have dyslexia, you should get educational support. This support aims to help overcome the problems dyslexia brings, for example to improve your reading speed. People with dyslexia achieve just as highly as those without dyselxia, but you need the right support. So don't sit in silence and get frustrated if you think you may be affected.

Taken from BBC Advice factfiles


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.



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.



Dyscalculia is usually perceived of as a specific learning difficulty for mathematics, or, more appropriately, arithmetic.

Typical symptoms of dyscalculia/mathematical learning difficulties

  • Has difficulty when counting backwards.
  • Has a poor sense of number and estimation.
  • Has difficulty in remembering ‘basic’ facts, despite many hours of practice/rote learning.
  • Has no strategies to compensate for lack of recall, other than to use counting.
  • Has difficulty in understanding place value and the role of zero in the Arabic/Hindu number system.
  • Has no sense of whether any answers that are obtained are right or nearly right.
  • Tends to be slower to perform calculations. (Therefore give less examples, rather than more time).
  • Forgets mathematical procedures, especially as they become more complex, for example ‘long’ division.
  • Addition is often the default operation. The other operations are usually very poorly executed (or avoided altogether).
  • Avoids tasks that are perceived as difficult and likely to result in a wrong answer.
  • Weak mental arithmetic skills.
  • High levels of mathematics anxiety.

Because mathematics is very developmental, any insecurity or uncertainty in early topics will impact on later topics, hence to need to take intervention back to basics.



It must be emphasised that individuals vary greatly in their Specific Learning Difficulties profile. Key variables are the severity of the difficulties and the ability of the individual to identify and understand their difficulties and successfully develop and implement coping strategies.

By adulthood, many people with Specific Learning Difficulties are able to compensate through technology, reliance on others and an array of self-help mechanisms - the operation of which require sustained effort and energy. Unfortunately, these strategies are prone to break down under stressful conditions which impinge on areas of weakness.