Dyslexia and dyspraxia are specific learning difficulties or differences. Most people have fairly even cognitive profiles, but the profile for people with specific learning difficulties is a lot more uneven, with strengths in some areas and unexpected weaknesses in others. There is no link between dyslexia and intellectual ability. At the University we have people with dyslexia and dyspraxia in academic and support roles.
Dyslexia may be thought of as a discrepancy between written and verbal language abilities. It may result in slow and inaccurate reading, untidy handwriting or spelling weaknesses. Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed. Dyslexia occurs across the full range of intellectual abilities. Dyslexia is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category.
Dyspraxia is an impairment in the organisation of movement. Dyspraxia affects the planning of what we do and how we do it. It is associated with problems of language, perception and thought. Difficulties with dyspraxia may include both gross motor movements such as walking and balance and fine motor movements such as handwriting. There may be heightened sensory sensitivity. People with dyspraxia may appear clumsy and accident-prone and may easily get lost.
Dyscalculia is a specific learning difficulty with carrying out basic mathematical activities, although the individual may understand complex concepts.