I learned a new term this week – comorbidity.

Officially the term means co-occurence of two or more different disorders in the same individual. With regards to specific learning difficulties, this often means that children with dyslexia may have symptoms or characteristics of other learning difficulties that are related such as dyspraxia, dyscalcula and ADHD.

There is a lot of research out there about this and essentially the overriding conclusion is that about 1/2 of children with dyslexia will experience comorbid deficits. The diagram below shows the typical comorbid overlaps. Comorbidity is apparently the norm rather than an exception!

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Jasmine has a mix of dyslexia and dyspraxia (also known as DCD) symptoms, some characteristics are very dyspraxic in nature such as her working memory challenges, her anxiety and phobias and her coordination and sequencing challenges; whilst others are very dyslexic in nature such as her reading and decoding challenges.

What has become abundantly clear in all this, is that applying a “standard” dyslexia learning solution for Jasmine will just not work given her interesting blend of dyslexia and dyspraxia (and lets not forget the ASD type characteristics!).

This is all very fascinating indeed however, I still come back to the question that keeps me up at night: what is the optimal blend of learning strategies for her?? And linked to this, should this be delivered in a mainstream school, specialist school or mixture of the two?

I can’t say I know the answer to this.

The quest continues.

See below a link to a very interesting and simple video about comorbidity.

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