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Specific Leaning Disorders

A specific learning disorder occurs when a student finds a specific area of learning, such as reading, spelling, writing or mathematics, particularly challenging even when provided with direct instruction and teaching. This can co-occur with other developmental disorders, such as ADHD.

Dyslexia =

Difficulties learning to read

This can affect a student’s ability to decode words and spell words as well as comprehend what they are reading.

This can result in slow and laborious reading which can then become reading refusal or avoidance.

Dysgraphia =

Difficulties spelling, writing and forming letters.

This can impact a student's use and understanding of grammar and vocabulary, ability to organise their ideas and compose written work.

Dyscalculia =

Difficulties with mathematics

This can impact a student’s ability to understand the meaning of numbers, complete addition, subtraction, multiplication and division calculations, as well as understanding abstract mathematical concepts.

Specific Learning Disorders Flowchart

Auspeld, 8th August, 2019
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Who can diagnose a SLD?

  • Specific learning disorders are typically diagnosed by a psychologist through the completion of standardised assessments and tests to evaluate the student’s learning strengths and difficulties.

  • Before a psychologist is able to make a diagnosis of a specific learning disorder, it is essential that the child or adult being assessed has received at least six months of intervention focused on improving their affected skills.

What role does a speech pathologist play in the management of these disorders?

Speech pathologists are able to provide targeted and individualised therapy and intervention to support the development of a student’s reading, writing and spelling skills.

At Speak & Write, we support students' reading and spelling skills through explicit systematic synthetic phonics instruction. Our therapists are all trained in the Spalding Method which incorporates and explicitly teaches vowel and consonant digraphs, spelling rules and punctuation using a multisensory approach, which engages visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and verbal memory. This will help make the reading process more accurate and automatic, therefore allowing more cognitive energy to be directed toward reading comprehension. This will also help the student’s spelling, punctuation and overall written expression skills.

We also support their language skills essential for reading and writing which include phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Talk to a therapist?

Who else may be involved?

If a child has significant handwriting difficulties, we will recommend consulting an occupational therapist who can provide the support needed to address fine motor skills, core strength and posture required for legible handwriting.

For a child with dyscalculia, we will typically refer to an numeracy professional.