What are SpLDs?

SpLDs, or Specific Learning Differences, refer to a group of learning difficulties where learners struggle with particular aspects of learning. Students with SpLDs are likely to find certain, but not all areas of learning challenging.

Some common SpLDs are Specific Learning Differences (SpLDs) in areas such as Reading (Dyslexia), Written Expression, and Mathematics (Dyscalculia). Neurodevelopmental difficulties such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) also fall under the umbrella of SpLDs. Signs and symptoms that are common to individual SpLDs are summarised below:

Dyslexia Specific Learning Differences in Written Expression
  • Reads words incorrectly
  • Frequently makes guesses at words while reading
  • Reads slowly/haltingly
  • Difficulty sounding out parts of words
  • May fear or refuse to read aloud
  • Performs poorly on spelling tests
  • Spells words in many different ways
  • Difficulty with applying grammar and punctuation rules in writing
  • Difficulty with organising writing
Dyscalculia Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Has a poor number sense
  • Difficulty with math reasoning
  • Struggles with fluency in computing math problems
  • Poor memory of math facts
  • Makes careless mistakes
  • Difficulty maintaining attention
  • Poor time management
  • Fails to complete work on time
  • Often fidgets with hands or feet
  • Frequently leaves the seat when required to remain seated
  • Talks excessively

*List is non-exhaustive

Having an SpLD does not mean that a student will never be able to achieve their academic potential. With additional effort on the students’ part, support from parents and teachers, as well as intervention programmes (where appropriate), these students will be in a better position to perform at a level that better reflects their potential.

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No two children are alike, and this certainly holds true for students with SpLDs. Every child has their unique learning strengths and weaknesses. It is important that adults working with students with SpLDs are aware of each child’s learning profile. Parents and teachers play a vital role in encouraging students to explore and capitalise on their strengths, as well as to target support to their specific weaknesses.

While two students can be struggling with learning, their underlying learning profile may be different. As such, undergoing an assessment is key for struggling learners to determine if they have a learning difficulty, as well as to obtain their learning profile, in order for them to be better supported in their learning.

At the Dyslexia Association of Singapore, our team of experienced psychologists conduct assessments for a range of SpLDs for school-going children. Find out more!

Read this article here.