Dyslexia and learning disabilities

If you have dyslexia or another learning disability, you may find lessons and doing your homework difficult. Find out how your teachers can help you with ways of coping. 

What is a learning disability?

A learning disability affects your ability to learn, understand or communicate. There are different types of learning disabilities, from small problems through to severe disabilities that may affect your whole life.

About 10% of people in the UK have dyslexia, a form of learning disability that makes it hard to read and spell. 

Some conditions that can cause learning disabilities:

  • cerebral palsy
  • epilepsy
  • autism
  • Asperger’s syndrome.

Mencap has more info about learning disabilities and other conditions.

If you're dyslexic or have a learning disability, you:

  • can get support from your school
  • should be getting help at home too
  • shouldn't be treated differently
  • discrimination is wrong, and it's against the law.

Studying with dyslexia

If you have dyslexia, you should make sure your teachers know about it. They can give you extra support to help you in your work.

If you're not sure but think you may have dyslexia, you should also tell your teacher. They can give you advice about how to get dyslexia diagnosed and what the next steps are.

Having dyslexia can make learning harder, but there are ways to get help and make things easier. There’s no reason for it to stop you doing whatever you want to in life.

Dyslexia Action and British Dyslexia Association have loads of helpful info.

having to
work harder
than everyone else

Check out our message boards for support from other people

Knowing your rights

As a person with a disability, you may have challenges like people treating you differently because you are disabled. This is wrong and is against the law.

You have the same rights as everyone else and there are laws to make sure that your rights are protected. If you are being abused, you deserve to get support.

The Equality Act was put in place to make sure the rights of people with disabilities are looked after. It's all about rights about jobs, education and ways to get help.

You can also check out our page about discrimination and equal opportunities.

How to get help and support

At school
If you know that you have a learning disability, it’s important that your school and your teachers also know about it.

Your teachers can:

  • help you find ways of coping. And also support you in your school work
  • give you extra tuition or more time to complete work
  • find ways for you to use your strengths to help you in your work and learning.

At home
It’s also really important that you have support and help at home. It’s good if you can talk openly with your parents or carer about your difficulties, so they can help you too.

This is important because:

  • you may find your needs change as time goes on and the amount of support you need will change
  • being able to talk about what you want and need is important in building your confidence and feeling happier about yourself.

Get tips about being assertive to help you say what you want without being rude or aggressive.

Not sure if you've got a learning disability?

If you haven’t been told that you’ve got a learning disability but you think that you might – or you need extra support – you should speak up about how you feel.

If you need support, the best way to get it is to tell someone you trust. This could be a teacher, a parent or a carer. You could also talk to a doctor for advice.