Learning Difficulties and Educational Needs

  Dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, Aspergers, Autism, Auditory Processing Disorder, Dyspraxia

  & several other conditions, learning behaviours & medical conditions.

  The information shared below is in relation to how you can support

  those diagnosed with one of these conditions. It is not intended to

  replace any medical or psychological case files.

  We appreciate each child has different and unique conditions and would 

  recommend speaking with us on individual cases.

  “It is like having too much of something, being too logical for the English 

  language – and the English language is not logical.

  As one delighted parent recently commented, “This makes complete 

  sense. I get it. So this is about how I slow my son’s skill down?”

  Think of it this way.

  For so many of these individuals who have difficulties with the English 

  language they can simply be running subconscious mental processes

  too fast. 

  Imagine your visual skills are like a fast car travelling at 100mph

  Great on a straight road, however, when you come to the town centre

  of reading, writing and spelling, they need to slow down their car,

  their visual skills, to avoid crashing.

  At 100mph they can see words that have pictures associated with them

  such as nouns. Words like cat, dog and balloon evoke a picture in their

  imagination when they are read. Infact, you have just done it.

  But there are also 'invisible words' which have no picture associated

  with them and they speed past.

  Words like should, would, could, but, not, if, so and, if, of, what, where,

  when, how why - conjunctions, prepositions, questions and pronouns,

  auxiliary words

  Now you can imagine the difficulty many have when reading or doing


  ALL of the joining words and questions have no pictures.

  BANG – you just crashed your car !!


  Looking or listening       

    • It is recognised that when an individual loses their sight their hearing improves.
    • For very visual individuals it is like the reverse can be true.  
    • We have nearly all been in the position of watching a good movie or reading an exciting book and we do not hear somebody ask us a question.
    • It is like we are in our own world.
    • This can be what is happening for these individuals and it can be confused with NOT paying attention or being slow.
    • In reality they are paying huge attention to every single detail on their journey.

  ADD / ADHD and those with ‘inappropriate behaviour’.

    • Very visual and very kinesthetic.
    • For these individuals it can be like they have several movies running at the same time. This can take a lot of attention, and also create a lot of energy.
    • They go straight from a ‘Seeing’ to a ‘Doing’ decision making process.
    • They do not have their hearing turned on and do not hear the little voice, our internal dialogue, saying for instance “Is now the right time for me to . . .”
    • Hence inappropriate behaviour and boisterous.
    • Conditions of hearing difficulty and glue ear are frequently associated.

  Aspergers / Autism (ASD Autism Spectrum Disorder)

                 – The photographic memory

    • Autism (ASD Autism Spectrum Disorder)
    • The cause is unknown.
    • A disorder of brain function that appears early in life, generally before the age of three.
    •  More common in boys then girls
    • Children with autism have problems with social interaction, communication, imagination and behaviour.
    • Autistic traits persist into adulthood, but vary in severity.
    • Some adults with autism function well, earning college degrees and living independently
    • Others never develop the skills of daily living, and may be incorrectly diagnosed with a variety of psychiatric illnesses.


    • Asperger
    • The onset of Asperger syndrome commonly occurs after the age of 3.
    • To all intents a mild form of autism.
    • More common in boys then girls
    • May not understand what they read
    • Characterised by an inability to understand how to interact socially.
    • Typical features of the syndrome also may include clumsy and uncoordinated motor movements, social impairment with extreme egocentricity, limited interests and unusual preoccupations, repetitive routines or rituals, speech and language peculiarities, and non-verbal   communication problems.
    • Few facial expressions apart from anger or misery.
    • Learn best by simple process and recognition
    • Most have excellent rote memory (learn by repeating something over and over again) and  musical ability.
    •  Become intensely interested in one or two subjects (sometimes to the exclusion of other topics).
    • They may talk at length about a favorite subject or repeat a word or phrase many times.
    • People with Aspergers syndrome tend to be "in their own world" and preoccupied with their own agenda.

  Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

    • This is sometimes called the invisible disability and is often diagnosed with accompanying conditions.
    • It randomly prevents individuals from processing sound, including verbal information.
    • Is not a hearing disability, as many of those diagnosed have perfect A1 hearing
    • It is an inability to process what is heard and words can be repeated but have not been processed.
    • Changes to the speed or volume of delivery will not help these individuals.
    • As written text is simply a visual pattern or code for our spoken language, it can be transferred to reading and writing.
    • Their literacy difficulties can be labelled ‘dyslexia’ but not everyone with APD has dyslexia.
    • Phonetic teaching is not effective with these individuals
    • Seeing Spells Achieving can be taught without sound and uses visual skills.

  Downs Syndrome:                                                                                                          

  To explain why this works for those with Downs Syndrome please read the following

  excerpt from the article by Bob Black, Downs Syndrome Association

    • Children with Down's syndrome learn to develop speech by learning to read. This is called 'teaching reading to teach talking' and this is clearly proven to be the most valuable method that has emerged for developing both reading, speech and memory skills:
    • Develop a whole word visual sight vocabulary before breaking words down phonically.
    • Flash cards used even before speech has developed.
    • Signing as a conceptual bridge to motivate communication and encourage productive speech.
    • A conceptual bridge is just a transition point between where you are now (seeing and knowing) to where you want to go (speaking and reading).

  Basic skills are often assumed may need to be developed to the 

  point where they can be used. Parents know about this. There is  

  nothing wrong with error free learning at this point. Error free is

  simply being shown how to do it, allowed to do it with help and

  practising skills without encountering difficulties.

  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:

  In OCD, sufferers experience repetitive, intrusive and unwelcome

  impulses and doubts which they find hard to ignore. Obsessions are

  the impulses people have and reoccur over and over again. Feeling

  excessively worried about the hands being dirty for example are

  obsessive feelings. In order to make the obsessive feelings go away

  the compulsions are performed. Excessively washing the hands are  

  compulsions. The more an individual tries to stop carrying out the

  rituals the harder they would find it to stop and it worsens when

  the individual is under stress. Some common OCD's are touching,

  excessive double-checking, nail biting, hand washing, cleaning,


  Tourette's syndrome:


  Minor manifestations of Tourette's syndrome of childhood are so

  common as to be considered a normal stage of development. Many

  children when over tired or stressed will blink or grimace and minor

  vocal tics as they are called - throat clearing, coughing grunting -

  are similarly common in some older children.

  Tourette's syndrome is classified as an anxiety disorder

  characterized by tics — involuntary, rapid, sudden movements or

  vocalisations that occur repeatedly in the same way.

  The more common tics are eye blinking, coughing, throat clearing, 

  sniffing, facial movements.




©2008 Seeing Spells Achieving