What are the co-occurring difficulties (or differences)?

Dyslexia is known as a Specific Learning Difficulty or Specific Learning Difference (SpLD), this means it affects the way information is learned and processed.

It is quite common for people to have other SpLD alongside dyslexia. These are called co-occurring difficulties and include dyscalculia and dyspraxia. Just like with dyslexia, everyone experiences these other SpLD in different ways so some people may have more difficulties than others.

A term which is becoming more popular is 'neurodiversity'. This includes all the differences in the way the human brain works and promotes the view that difference amongst people is normal, and should be accepted and celebrated.

The most important thing to remember if you are dyslexic or have any other SpLD is that you are not alone. There are millions of other people in the world who feel the same as you. Many of them have made videos that you can find on YouTube or have written blogs about their experiences. There is always someone who can help or give you advice.

The Dyspraxia Youth Foundation have made a video to talk about dyspraxia, which is one of the conditions which can occur with dyslexia.

Find out more about SpLD that can co-occur with dyslexia.

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can cause you to daydream or have difficulties with concentrating. Some people with ADHD feel angry or aggressive. Like dyslexia, ADHD feels different to different people.

    You can get more information from:
    ADDISS: The National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support ServiceADDISS provide information and resources about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to anyone who needs help and support. They also have a telephone and email helpline.

    The ADHD FoundationThis website contains lots of useful information and advice for young people. They run skills training to support young people with ADHD and also link to guides on issues such as anxiety, sleep and bullying.

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

    Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people but, again, although all autistic people have certain difficulties, autism affects them in different ways (National Autistic Society).

    You can find more information at:
    National Autistic Society (NAS)The leading UK charity for autistic people (including those with Asperger syndrome) and their families. They provide advice for young people with autism who may be experiencing bullying.

    Ambitious about AutismA national charity for children and young people with autism.

  • Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)

    Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) was previously known as Specific Language Impairment (SLI).

    You may have difficulty remembering words or saying what you want to say. You may also have problems understanding what other people say.

    You can find more information at:
    I CANI CAN is the children’s communication charity. They aim to help all children to develop speech, language and communication skills.

    The RALLI channel on YoutubeThis has lots of really useful videos, including some of children and young people talking about their difficulties, and what helps them.

  • Dyspraxia/DCD

    Developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD) is also known as dyspraxia. Dyspraxia can affect things like running and jumping, or kicking and catching a ball. It can also cause you to have difficulties with holding a pencil and writing. Many people with dyspraxia also have problems with concentrating or organising themselves.

    In this short film made by Fixers UK Joe Duane talks about his experience of being dyspraxic.

    There are other bloggers on YouTube who talk about dyspraxia, such as Krystal-Bella Shaw

    You can find more of her videos on her YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/krystalxforever

    You can find more information at:
    Dyspraxia Foundation YouthThe Dyspraxia Foundation has a microsite specifically for young people with dyspraxia, they also have a closed Facebook group which you can join.

    Fixers.org.ukA great site for and by young people talking about the issues that affect their lives.

  • Dyscalculia

    Dyscalculia is a specific learning difficulty with numbers or arithmetic. It can cause you to have problems with doing sums or learning things like times tables.

    You can find more information at:
    The British Dyslexia Association: Dyscalculia

    Maths ExplainedThis website contains a collection of videos to help people having problems with maths.

  • Visual stress

    Visual stress is also known by a few other names, such as Meares-Irlen, Irlen Syndrome or Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome. It is believed to affect 35-40 per cent of people with dyslexia.

    Visual stress affects the way that words look on the page. Instead of appearing in straight lines words can appear to be moving or blurred. This happens most often when you look at black text on a white background, so often it can help to use tinted paper or coloured overlays; or, when you’re working on your computer, to change the background colour of the screen.

    Visual stress can really affect reading ability and also result in headaches, eye strain, poor concentration and tiredness.

    You can find more information at:

    British Dyslexia AssociationHas helpful information on their Eyes and Dyslexia page. This also includes helpful links and resources.

Having a learning difference can be difficult. You can sometimes feel alone and anxious, frustrated or upset. There are organisations who can offer you information, advice and support.

Young Minds