SpLD/neurodiversity

Definition: Specific Learning Difficulties (or SpLDs), affect the way information is learned and processed. They are neurological (rather than psychological), usually run in families and occur independently of intelligence. They can have significant impact on education and learning and on the acquisition of literacy skills (British Dyslexia Association, 2017).

Zakopoulou et al. (2014) acknowledge that the term Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) integrates a number of difficulties which may affect communication, such as Dyspraxia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Dysphasia, Asperger’s Syndrome, Dyscalculia and Dyslexia, it needs to be noted that children with SpLD will also have many strengths. The British Dyslexia Association (2017) agree adding that SpLD is an umbrella term used to cover a range of frequently co-occurring difficulties. The also clarify that SpLDs can also co-occur with difficulties on the Autism Spectrum (British Dyslexia Association, 2019).

The Driver Youth Trust (2015) suggest that nationally there are 13% of children and young people with Specific Learning Difficulties. The Department for Education present that SpLD are more prevalent in secondary aged pupils with SEN Support than primary aged pupils (DfE, 2016b). They add that 25.0% of 15 year olds on SEN Support had this primary type of need compared with 10.8% of 7 year olds of which Dyslexia is the most common need (British Dyslexia Association, 2017). In relation to Dyslexia and persistent literacy difficulties, identification is a barrier to accurate estimates of the number of young people with these difficulties in schools. Dyslexia Action estimates that 10% of children in the UK are dyslexic (Dyslexia Action, 2012). In addition, 15.6% of children on SEN Support have Specific Learning Difficulties; 4% of children identified with SEND have been issued a Statement/EHC plan for SpLD.