We all have different intellectual strengths and weaknesses with varying abilities to problem solve, plan, employ abstract reasoning, form judgements, and learn from experience. For children and adults, difficulties in any number of these can negatively affect our ability to learn, work and function on a daily basis.
If you think you or your child may be struggling in one or more of these areas then an assessment with an educational psychologist can determine particular strengths and weaknesses and, crucially, provide advice on how you or your child’s school, work or home life can be adapted to cater for these. Follow this link ‘Educational Psychology’ for more details.
Dyslexia can cause difficulties with reading, spelling and writing and is a common learning difficulty. Dyslexia can vary in the extent to which it affects these areas but it does not affect intelligence. Indeed, individuals with dyslexia often have strengths in other areas such as abstract reasoning, creativity and problem solving. Dyslexia lasts throughout the life span and can give rise to challenges in education, the workplace and in other day-to-day activities.
Indications of dyslexia can usually be spotted when children start school and are required to read and write, though this is not always picked up. At Psychology Sussex we are able to assess both children and adults. Some of the features of dyslexia that you may recognise are:
- Speed of reading or writing. Specifically, as reading or writing are challenging then the pace at which this is done will be slower than the individual's peers.
- Difficulties ordering the letters in words.
- Difficulties with, or inconsistencies, in spelling.
- Understanding information that has been given verbally but difficulties in understanding similar information that has been given as text.
- Finding it hard to follow a sequence of instructions.
- Difficulties in planning or organisation.
If you suspect that your child may have dyslexia it is first worth speaking with their teacher. Whether or not dyslexia is ultimately diagnosed, your child's specific learning requirements (both their strengths and weaknesses) can be assed by an educational psychologist.
Once an individual's particular strengths and weaknesses have been assessed, recommendations can be made to a child or young person's school, college or university – provisions such as additional support or time for assignments/exams are commonplace – or can be provided to adults who, for example, may wish to consult with their employer about their learning profile. Following assessment, you will also be recommended techniques that can be used to make things easier based on your specific learning profile.
Dyscalculia – sometimes referred to as 'maths dyslexia' - is a learning difficulty which is specific to difficulties in learning with numbers e.g. mathematics or arithmetic. Some of the following features are typical of dyscalculia:
- Difficulty grasping magnitude or making numerical estimations
- Problems with counting backwards
- Difficulties with and slow rate of performing numerical calculations
- Difficulties performing mental arithmetic
- Difficulties recognising or understanding certain mathematical symbols such as + - ÷ %
These difficulties can lead to anxiety around maths and the requirement to make numerical calculations as well as avoidance of the subject. Like dyslexia, dyscalculia does not affect intelligence however individuals with dyscalculia will be behind peers of their age in mathematical ability.
If you would like to discuss whether you, your child, or someone you know may be affected by a learning difficulty then do not hesitate to Contact the team at Psychology Sussex to discuss how we can help you.