Dyslexia is a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD).

On this is part of the site you will find extensive information on:

Jumbled Letters

Jumbled Letters Swirling Around

What is Dyslexia?; Definition of Dyslexia; What Causes Dyslexia?; Dyslexia Checklist; Dyslexia Assessment / Test; Dyslexia Aids & Equipment; Dyslexia Treatment – How you can Help?; Software for Dyslexia; Dyslexia FAQ’s; Employers & Dyslexia; Handwriting Groups; Help & Advice and a Dyslexia Book List.

You will also find a section on Looking for schools that specialise in Dyslexia; Psychologists who can test for Dyslexia; Test Centres for Dyslexia and how to find a specialist tutor in your area.

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD). It was a German physician called Rudolf Berlin who refined our definition of reading problems, using the term “dyslexia”; to describe a “very great difficulty in interpreting written or printed symbols.”

Dyslexia / Specific Learning Difficulties affects 10% of the population. Problems can show themselves in reading, writing, number work, short-term memory, hand control and visual processing. Timekeeping, sense of direction and interpersonal skills can also be affected. These difficulties often result in significant frustration, bearing in mind that dyslexics are usually of average or above average intelligence.

Until recently people thought that Dyslexia affected more males than females. However, this may not be the case. It is now believed that girls are not being identified in the same way as boys.

Many of these children are incredibly bright in lots of ways, always talking and asking questions. And yet they do not seem to reach their full potential in the academic field. An excellent definition of Dyslexia is by Dr J E Cullis, 1992, who wrote:

Definition of Dyslexia

‘Dyslexia means having difficulty with words in reading, spelling and writing – in spite of having normal intelligence and ability’.

by Dr J E Cullis , 1992

I believe one of the significant advances in dyslexia will be in the area of genetics and it may not be too long before babies are tested at birth thereby enabling help to be available at a very early age.

Dyslexia is a registered disability under the Equality Act (EA) 2010.

Definition of Dyslexia

Dyslexia (pronounced: dis-lex-eea) affects approximately 10% of the population, 4% severely. Problems can show themselves in reading, writing, number work, short-term memory, hand control and visual processing. Timekeeping, sense of direction and interpersonal skills can also be affected.


Definition of Dyslexia 

‘Dyslexia means having difficulty with words in reading, spelling and writing – in spite of having normal intelligence and ability’.

by Dr J E Cullis, 1992

It is very important to recognise dyslexia as soon as possible, before it impacts on a child’s self-esteem. There is no single set of signs that characterise all dyslexics.


There is a lot more information to help you in my books. I have listed a couple below:

‘Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties – The Essential Guide’ – Book

My book: ‘Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties – A Parent’s Guide’, contains extensive information on dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties (SpLDs).

For a fuller description of ‘Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties – A Parent’s Guide‘ . See more ….

‘Dyslexia and Alternative Therapies’ – Book

My book: ‘Dyslexia and Alternative Therapies’ contains information on a wide range of alternative therapies and the way they can help people with dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties (SpLDs).

For a fuller description of ‘Dyslexia and Alternative Therapies‘ . See more ….


What Causes Dyslexia

There is no single ’cause’ of developmental dyslexia. The way in which dyslexia affects people differs from individual to individual, as do the reasons for the specific difficulties experienced.

Children learn language and literacy skills best when they are young. If they have hearing problems (like ‘glue ear’) during this time, this can affect some children’s language abilities. Similarly, visual problems when they are learning to read can affect their ability to pick up reading skills. Such visual problems (e.g. unstable or blurred vision) can confuse children and make reading very difficult, but this can often be improved by viewing through yellow or blue filters. Also, many children have problems translating the letters into the sounds they stand for because they don’t hear the sounds enough.

The basic cause or causes of developmental dyslexia are not fully understood, and are the major focus of our research. It is an inherited condition, which appears to affect more boys than girls. Clear differences in the way the brain is wired up during development have been found in people with dyslexia. These may result from abnormalities in a particular class of ‘magnocellular’ nerve cell; possibly due to inheriting genes that make them vulnerable to immune factors during development of the brain and to deficiency of the ‘omega-3’ fatty acids, EPA & DHA that are found in oily fish.

Dyslexia Research Trust (DRT

4th October 2013

Dyslexia Treatment

Dyslexia Treatment

As dyslexia is not a disease, there is no ‘treatment’ for it.  However, you can help a student with dyslexia, by using Multi-Sensory Teaching Methods and developing skills through play and lots of encouragement.


What is Multi-Sensory?

I am frequently being asked by parents and students, ‘what does multi-sensory mean’. Multi-Sensory means merely, using: eyes, ears, touch, taste and smell.


Dyslexia Treatment – Playing with things Like:

• Practising letter formation in sand/salt trays. (I use cat litter trays they are very cheap.)
• Using chalk or coloured pens, to do letter formation on black/white board.
• Shape and pattern copying.
• Using ‘Spirograph’ to practice writing – write, shake it and it goes away.
• Tracking objects to their ‘homes’, i.e., tracing along the line back to the rabbit hutch etc.
• Colouring in ‘mosaics’ or ‘paint by number’ are excellent to improve ‘fine motor’ control, (much better than simply writing).
• Colouring in old-fashioned ‘doylies’ (for cakes) is another way to improve fine-motor control.
• Threading coloured beads.
• Jigsaws.
• Juggling.
• Swimming.

Dyslexia – Developing Skills, including:

* Sequencing
* Space organisation
* Directional awareness
* Strategies.

Dyslexia - Touch Typing

Touch Typing Programmes

TypewriterThere are a lot of ‘Touch Typing’ packages available. However, I think for people with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia or other learning difficulties (SpLD’s), it is advisable to use programmes that were specially designed with ‘dyslexic’ type problems in mind. The programmes listed below, have been tested and used for years. They are excellent.

Dyslexia – Typing Packages

KAZ – Typing Programme
Children love this because it has a big yellow bird that helps to teach them to type. Designed for children 6+ years (This company now has a Dyslexia Edition which has been developed by the ‘Dyslexia Research Trust’.)

‘Nessy Fingers Touch Typing’

‘Nessy Fingers Touch Typing’, helps children improve spelling and keyboard skills. Designed for children between 8-12 years.

Touch-type Read and Spell (TTRS)
Children who learn to touch type via a multisensory course like Touch-type Read and Spell also have their phonics skills reinforced.

Type to Learn 3
Students embark on time-travel missions to learn keyboarding skills.
Smart Kids


Touch Typing Review


Why not give your child an advantage over the holidays and get them to touch-type? I am sure you would not mind sitting with them (although you don’t have to) for ¹15 minutes a day for five days.

This will give them an excellent start when they return to school.

KAZ is for children from six years of age, he is a ‘big bird’, and the kids love him.

The programme basically has five phrases, and each sentence will take about fifteen minutes to complete. ¹(Now the caveat on this is there is never any pressure on the child; it may take 15 minutes, 30 or just ten, they have to do it at their own pace.)

When they have completed the five phrases, they will have used all of their fingers and covered the entire keyboard.

After that, it is just practice to increase the speed and to get the whereabouts of the keys to ‘long-term memory’ (that’s my expression, not theirs).

There are also sections for punctuation etc., but they are separate, and you can choose to complete them or not.

My husband and one of our sons can type at 40wpm, using two fingers, so, I don’t necessarily believe in touch-typing per se, but I firmly believe that everyone should know their way around a keyboard well.

If they know the keyboard, when they want to write something, they can just get on and type – it definitely makes writing more accessible.

There are different programmes available; one for children with dyslexia, junior children, and even a version for children with ADHD. Furthermore, it is not just confined to children, so you may want to have a go yourself!

For further information, go to KAZ’s website: https://kaz-type.com/ or telephone 01926 423424. The lady on the other end of the phone is Sheraleen Bragenza. She is very easy to talk to, and she can answer any questions you may have.

Congratulations to KAZ, they have just been

‘voted #1 Best Typing Tutor of the Year’ for 2018.

 by Maria Chivers



Dr David Edward Cowell


Dr David Edward Cowell BSc MPhil PhD Dip Psych

Dr David Edward Cowell

Dr David Edward Cowell B.Sc. M.Phil. Ph.D. Dip Psych

Dr Cowell is an expert in dyslexia and associated conditions including dysgraphia and dyscalculia. During his 50 year career as a chartered educational psychologist he has worked to help children and adults understand how their own abilities and perceptions differ from others and how they can reach their full potential. It is unfortunate that even today, many parents and teachers are still made anxious by a diagnosis of these conditions and unsure of how to bring out the best in their children.

Dr Cowell is a Chartered Scientist, a Chartered Psychologist (6434) an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Member of the Association of Educational Psychologists.

Dr Cowell, lives in Wiltshire.   David Cowell trained as a psychologist at the Tavistock Centre, London, before moving to work in the North of England. He was Senior Psychologist in Swindon for 18 years, but is now an independent consultant specialising in child and adolescent problems.

He has an M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Exeter University and has written or contributed to six books. He has participated in many radio and television programmes.

He is listed in ‘The Royal Society of Medicine Wall of Honour’.

Some of Dr Cowell’s work includes:


A History of Dyslexia and other Specific Learning Difficulties Pub, Swindon, 2018.

Steps Ahead: Practical Applications of Educational Psychology for Teachers and Parents
Anchor Publications:  Bognor Regis, 1986.

Steps Ahead in Literacy
Steps Ahead Training Systems Company (SATSC), Comberton:  Cambridge, 1994.

Articles in Books:

‘Stress and Tension Control’
Edited by F.J.McGuigan, Wesley E. Sime, and J.Macdonald Wallace

‘British Journal of Guidance & Counselling’, Volume 11 – No.2, July 1983
‘The Use of Progressive Relaxation and Hypnosis in Counselling Secondary-School Pupils’
By Dr David Cowell & Julie Franklin (p.160)

‘British Journal of Guidance & Counselling’, Volume 13 – No.1, July 1985
‘Guidance in Counselling in School
By Patrick Hughes’ (mentioning Cowell & Franklin’s work) (p.11)


Exceptionally Able Children:  A Checklist
Nestor Publications:  Swindon, 1986.


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