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General Questions

1What is Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a type of specific learning difficulty identifiable as a developmental difficulty of language learning and cognition. It is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal online chat rooms memory and processing speed. Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor co-ordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia.

- Definition from DAS website

2What is Dyspraxia/Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), also known as dyspraxia, is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. DCD is formally recognised by international organisations including the World Health Organisation. DCD is distinct from other motor disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke, and occurs across the range of intellectual abilities. Individuals may vary in how their difficulties present: these may change over time depending on environmental demands and life experiences, and will persist into adulthood.

Children may present with difficulties with self-care, writing, typing, riding a bike and 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 and emotional difficulties as well as problems with time management, planning and personal organisation, and these may also affect an adult’s education or employment experiences.

Other areas of possible deficits include memory, perception and processing as well as additional problems with planning, organising and carrying out movements in the right order in everyday situations. Although dyspraxia may occur in isolation, it frequently coexists with other conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, language disorders and social, emotional and behavioural impairments.

- Definition from Movement Matters UK and Dyspraxia Foundation

3What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism is a brain-based developmental disorder that affects a person's ability to communicate, be with other people, and engage in developmentally appropriate behaviours.

Autism is a life-long developmental disorder, and as yet there is no cure. Children do not "outgrow" autism but symptoms may lessen or change as the child develops and receives educational interventions.

While the cause or combination of causes of autism is not fully understood, some research suggests a biological problem affecting those parts of the brain that process language and information from the senses. Other research findings suggest that there may be an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain. Genetic factors may sometimes be involved in certain families. In reality what we know is that autism may develop from a combination of several 'causes'.

There is no suggestion that psychological or emotional factors in the environment of the child cause autism.

- Definition taken from Autism Resource Centre

4What is ADHD?

ADHD is generally considered to be a neurobiological disorder. Researchers believe that the symptoms of ADHD are caused by chemicals in the brain not working properly. It is characterised by the inability to sustain focused attention, impulsivity and hyperactivity.

There are 3 types, based on DSM-IV:

  1. ADHD with the combined characteristics of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention,
  2. ADHD with inattention as the primary characteristic, and
  3. ADHD with hyperactivity and impulsivity as primary characteristics.

The first and third types are most often and easily identified because these children tend to have symptoms that are highly noticeable. These are the ADHD children who are loud, always on the go, take risks, engage in dangerous behavior, and talk back to adults. The second group, which is often where females are placed, are the quiet daydreamers. They lose personal belongings, can't work alone, don't finish tasks, and are often lost in their own thoughts.

- Definition from Society for the Promotion of ADHD Research and Knowledge (SPARK)

5What is Dyscalculia

Dyscalculia is a learning difficulty involving the most basic aspect of arithmetical skills. It exists in a number of different varieties, each involving a specific difficulty in solving mathematical tasks, and corresponds with mathematical performance to dyslexia in the area of reading.

Students with dyscalculia may have difficulty in understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers and have problems learning number facts and procedures. These can relate to basic concepts such as telling the time, calculating prices and handling change and estimating and measuring such things as temperature and speed.

The majority of children and dissertationworld adults who are subject to dyscalculia have the ability to read and the ability to understand what is read unimpaired, although about 20–30 % of those who are subject to dyscalculia are characterized by having difficulties reading and with mathematics. They often require extensive mental strain to carry out even simple arithmetic tasks. They count using their fingers as a visual aid far into the upper grades. Difficulties of this sort are categorized as automatisation difficulties. Their problems reflect not emotional issues but difficulties in mentally connecting with specific types of thought processes.

- Definition from DAS website and Dr Bjorn Adler


1Ministry of Social and Family Development - Enabling Master Plan
2 Dyslexia Association of Singapore - Find out more about Dyslexia
3Autism Resource Centre - Information on Autism
4Child Development Clinic, KK Hospital - Info on help available for children with developmental issues
5 Society for the Promotion of ADHD Research and Knowledge (SPARK) - Information on ADHD