The prevalence of learning disabilities is a significant issue within today’s society. Awareness has increased immeasurably in the last 20 years, most noticeable in our schools and universities, where disability services are increasingly available to assist those with learning difficulties.
Specific learning difficulties (SpLD) affect the way in which information is learned and processed. They are neurological, often genetic and, contrary to many people’s assumptions, have no correlation with intelligence. A popular example of a genius with learning difficulties is Albert Einstein, one of the most celebrated and greatest minds of all time.
SpLD covers many different types of learning difficulties, most commonly dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and ADD, which affect around 10 per cent of the population and is usually hereditary.
Someone with dyslexia often mixes up letters and words, and struggles with spelling, commonly switching letters.
While dyslexia is most evident from the perspective of literacy, its effects do not exclusively effect this. Dyslexia affects the way information is processed and retrieved, with problems of memory, speed of processing and sequencing.
Fourth year neuroscience student, and dyslexia sufferer Rupert Clark identified his difficulties as being slow at writing and reading, and often missing the point of questions. This, as well as his older sister having dyslexia, led to him seeking a diagnosis.
SpLDs normally present themselves at an early age, but due to the effects they have on a student’s ability to write exams and essays, it is necessary for there to be a readily available support for those at university who have not yet been diagnosed.