Specific Learning Difficulties/Specific Processing Differences

Different Processing Abilities

This is an area with which we have been very closely involved for many years. Although less controversial than in the past, there still is considerable debate about the nature and analysis of the various specific learning difficulties and their interactions. However, there is general agreement that these are real and potentially devastating areas of under-performance. However, it is also likely that there will be areas of significantly better functioning, even talent, because the world is often seen differently, leading to novel and creative solutions to problems.

Profile of Strengths & Weaknesses

It is important to always identify strengths and weaknesses in specific areas. It is not without accident that people speak of "my dyslexia" or "my dyspraxia" because of the consequences of the combination of specific differences they experience. While we will use the diagnostic terms "dyslexia", "dyspraxia", "attention deficit" and others according to current practice, we will also look at how the combination of specific strengths and weaknesses affect how each individual is able to face the challenges of their life. We will analyse each significant area and report on how it can affect learning, work and everyday life. We point to strategies and supportive resources which might help overcome the consequences of difficulties or deficits.

Variety of Specific Difficulties

While the list of specific areas of impaired functioning is extensive, some are more frequently the cause of concerns, difficulties and, ultimately, possible failure. Unfortunately, these areas of functioning tend to be fundamental and essential to enabling other activities.


Dyslexia, perhaps the most commonly identified, is a difficulty with literacy, reading, spelling and written communication. Research suggests a very close link with difficulties in processing the sounds that make up the spoken word, referred to as "phonological processing difficulty". Specific parts of the brain appear to be linked to the activities surrounding reading and spelling. For more information, click here.