As mentioned in my other posts, the help educational games are aimed at children with specific learning difficulties (SpLD), but what exactly does that term mean?
According to the NHS a specific learning difficulty is term that refers to differences in particular aspects of learning. It causes problems with areas of reading and writing.
This may sound like a broad term and that’s because it is. There are several types of SpLD’s and these are illustrated in the diagram below. There are a few most common ones which I will talk more about later one.
The conditions illustrated can be independent or co-exist within one individual. Although there will be common patterns and behaviours the effects can range from mild to severe. It is important to remember that SpLD’s do not affect intelligence or academic potential, although the path to achievement may be harder and require more effort.
In an educational context, for teachers and parents, it is key to be aware of these specific needs and their difference so a variety of methods can be explored to facilitate the best learning possible.
It is estimated that about 10% of the UK population has some degree of dyslexia. It affects auditory memory and processing speed which in turn impacts literacy, maths, memory, organisation and sequencing. Some common indicators in children are;
• Can’t connect letters with the sounds they make
• Writes letters or number backwards
• Misspells simple CVC words such as – dog
• Can’t understand what they have just read
Dyspraxia is a SpLD that affects fine and gross motor coordination. It can also cause problems with planning, organisation, and carrying out movements in the right order. Some common symptoms in children are:
• Difficulties in hopping, jumping, catching
• Poor handwriting
• Clumsy- may bump into objects or drop things
• Difficulty drawing or using scissors
Dysgraphia is a writing disorder associated with impaired handwriting, orthographic coding and finger sequences. These all causes problems with written expression. Common symptoms are:
• Struggle to put thoughts on paper
• Problems with spelling
• Poor handwriting
• Inconstancies in writing – mixture of upper and lower case letter, difference sizes and shapes
Dyscalculia is a difficulty in understanding maths related concepts or using symbols and functions needed for success in maths. Symptoms of school aged children are;
• Problems learning and recalling basic maths such as 2+4=6
• Struggles with mathematical signs and symbols
• Difficulty with ‘greater than’ and ‘less than’ concept
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is specific learning difficulty that which causes different brain activity that can affect attention, the ability to sit still and self-control. Common indicators are;
• Trouble focusing their attention
• Fidgety, restless and easily bored
• Have emotional reactions that seem too intense for the situation
• Lose track of things