SPELD's objective is to advance the education and general welfare of children and others who are handicapped by learning disabilities.

What are Specific Learning difficulties (SLDs)?

People with specific learning difficulties have strengths in some areas and unexpected weaknesses in others.

For example:

  • they may be coping well in maths but have difficulty learning to read, spell and write;or
  • they may be good at oral language and poor in written language;or
  • they may have problems with number skills (eg times tables)

SLDs are not primarily due to:

  • Low intelligence
  • emotional problems
  • vision or hearing difficulties
  • attention difficulties
  • inadequate teaching
  • A hidden handicap

Children and adults with specific learning difficulties are often misunderstood and mistakenly seen as lazy, lacking in ability or poorly motivated.

Early recognition, assessment and management

Early recognition is important so that appropriate educational assistance may be provided. If the child's learning difficulty is undetected or ignored during the early years of schooling, the burden of failure and frustration may contribute to secondary problems such as low self esteem, and emotional and behavioural problems. these make the situation harder for the child, their parents and teachers.

Recognising Specific Learning Difficulties

People with SLDs do not all have the same type of problems. However, most will have a number of the characteristics listed below:

  • average or above average general ability
  • poor reading, spelling, writing or mathematics, or uneven achievment across the curriculum
  • difficulty copying or writing things down
  • poor handwriting
  • take longer than other children to finish written work
  • history of speech and language difficulties
  • trouble remembering times tables
  • difficulty learning to tell the time and/or a weak concept of time
  • a poor memory for oral instructions
  • trouble following a line of print
  • easily distracted
  • fidgety
  • difficulty concentrating
  • poor organisational skills
  • family history of similar problems

How common are SLDs?

Estimates vary, but generally 3-10% of the population. Specific Learning Difficulties are also called Learning Disabilities. Some better known specific learning difficulties are;

  • Dyslexia - difficulty in reading, spelling and written language
  • Dysgraphia - difficulty with hand writing
  • Dyscalculia - difficulty with mathematics

SPELD SA is generously supported by

thyne reid foundation Education Logo CMYK H Large australian executor trustees

SPELD SA would like to acknowledge the support of the Douglas Whiting Trust in the development of this website.

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We are a proud member of AUSPELD


AUSPELD is a member of the IDA Global Partners Program