The three D’s – Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Dyscalculia

Posted on: 5/10/2020

As is it the awareness week for both dyslexia and dyspraxia, we thought it would be useful to look at the two conditions side-by-side. Another condition called dyscalculia also arises when talking about dyslexia and dyspraxia. Often, the three conditions get confused for one another, which is why it is important to distinguish the differences.

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling.

It's a specific learning difficulty, which means it causes problems with certain abilities used for learning, such as reading and writing. Unlike a learning disability, intelligence isn't affected.

It's estimated up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK has some degree of dyslexia.

Dyslexia is a lifelong problem that can present challenges on a daily basis, but support is available to improve reading and writing skills and help those with the problem be successful at school and work.

What are the signs of dyslexia?

A person with dyslexia may:

  • read and write very slowly
  • confuse the order of letters in words
  • put letters the wrong way round (such as writing "b" instead of "d")
  • have poor or inconsistent spelling
  • understand information when told verbally, but have difficulty with information that's written down
  • find it hard to carry out a sequence of directions
  • struggle with planning and organisation

People with dyslexia often have good skills in other areas however, such as creative thinking and problem solving.

What is dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia, also known as developmental co-ordination disorder, is a common disorder that affects your movement and co-ordination.

Dyspraxia does not affect your intelligence, but it may make daily life more difficult for you. It can affect your co-ordination skills – such as tasks requiring balance, playing sports or learning to drive a car – and your fine motor skills, such as writing or using small objects.

What are the signs of dyspraxia?

Symptoms of dyspraxia can vary between individuals and may change over time. You may find routine tasks difficult, and coping at work may be hard.

If you have dyspraxia you may have problems with:

  • Impairment or immaturity in the way the brain processes information.
  • Perceptual-motor problems
  • Pronunciation difficulties
  • “Clumsiness” and ill co-ordination
  • Limited concentration and poor listening skills
  • Difficulty holding pens and pencils
  • daily living skills, such as dressing or preparing meals
  • social situations
  • dealing with your emotions

What is Dyscalculia?

In addition to dyslexia and dyspraxia, there is another similar condition called dyscalculia, a condition that affects the ability to acquire arithmetical skills. A person with dyscalculia struggles with basic aspects of numbers and computation.

What are the signs of dyscalculia?

Symptoms for dyscalculia include:

  • Having difficulty when counting backwards
  • Having a poor sense of number and estimation
  • Difficulty in remembering ‘basic’ facts, despite many hours of practice/rote learning
  • Being slower at performing calculations

We hope that this information has been useful and has helped distinguish each condition.