Possible features of problems with reading (Dyslexia)
Difference between the pupil’s ability and actual acheivement.
Family history of learning difficulties.
Difficulties with spelling
Confusion over left and right.
Writing letters or numbers backwards.
Difficulties with mathematics.
Difficulties with organisation.
Difficulty following 2 or 3 step instructions.
Possible features of problems with mathematics (Dyscalculia)
Difficulty learning to recognise and write numbers.
Difficulty learning to count.
Difficulties with understanding basic mathematical symbols and concepts (addition, subtraction, division and mutiplication)
Works very slowly when doing maths calculations.
When a child has reading difficulties, problems are frequently described as a child having to read and re-read text multiple times, forgetting what they have read, reading very slowly and guessing at words based on context. Sound phonological awareness is essential for the decoding process – sounding out the words. When phonological awareness is impaired, children often rely on compensatory strategies, such as guessing at words. This results in poor comprehension of text, particularly as complexity increases in later primary and secondary school. Written expression problems are sometimes present and may include significant problems with written expression and/or problems with handwriting ability and/or endurance (Dysgraphia).
Handwriting difficulty can lead to frustration, in that creative ideas cannot be adequately expressed and work may fail to be completed within expected timeframes, particularly in time pressured situations. Dysgraphia is characterised by significantly poor handwriting ability and/or problems with handwriting endurance. Generating sufficient content for written expression tasks may also be affected.
When a child has significant problems with their maths ability, areas of difficulty usually relate to problems with learning and retaining the numbers and the quantities they represent, and learning and retaining mathematical calculation symbols and their associated functions (e.g. plus, minus, multiply, divide).
Executive Functioning Difficulties
Executive functioning encompasses a set of cognitive abilities that allow a person to control and regulate their behaviour. This includes the ability to initiate and inhibit actions, to plan, monitor and change behavior as needed, and the ability to organise.
Executive functioning difficulties are often present in children with learning difficulties and ADHD.
Features of executive functioning include being able to:
- Make plans
- Keep track of time.
- Keep track of more than one thing at once.
- Evaluate ideas, reflect on work.
- Make corrections while thinking, reading and writing.
- Finish work on time.
- Seek more information when required.
- Communicate details in an organised, sequential manner.