Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire Dyslexia Association

Our Vision A dyslexia friendly society enabling all dyslexics to reach their potential.

Our Aim To support the needs of all dyslexic children and young people in education and adults in the workplace.

To achieve this, we raise public and professional awareness of dyslexia and campaign for appropriate provision for dyslexics in local schools and colleges and appropriate support in the workplace for adults.

We have been providing   services for dyslexics across both counties for 35 years, and is affiliated to the British Dyslexia Association (BDA).  We are an independent registered charity and received no funding relying on membership subscriptions and the work of our volunteer Trustees to maintain our services. 

Together with our small team of professional helpline/befriender volunteers – all experts in their field, we cover all aspects of dyslexia and other Co-occurring Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD)  with our FREE Information Advice and Guidance provision for:  Parents and carers of children and young people, schools and teaching professionals, adults, partners and friends of dyslexics.

We also work closely with employers to raise awareness of dyslexia within the world of work promoting good practice guidelines in becoming a dyslexia-wise employer with help to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the requirements of disability law; Equality Act 2010 (Discrimination Act 1995)   Our Services include:

  • Confidential Free Helpline and Befriender service
  • Diagnostic Assessment services for children and adults
  • Local Dyslexia specialist Tutors/Assessors Directory
  • Events:  Meetings, Conferences, Open Events
  • Dyslexia Awareness Training workshops for: Parents, Schools/Teachers, Employers and other specialist or public organisations
  • Support for Parent Support Groups
  • An exceptional and informative quarterly newsletter for members, covering all aspects of Dyslexia for everyone.

Diagnostic Assessment - Tuition

The provision of Diagnostic Assessments for Dyslexia – This service us provided directly with the specialist assessors who set their own fees.

Private Tuition with a Dyslexia specialist Tutor:  This service is provided directly with the Tutors who set their own feed. 

A directory of local tutors and assessors can be requested via telephone or email. It may be worthwhile checking that this is appropriate action before booking an assessor.

We can also provide links to on-line screening testing for adults, but please note, this only gives the probability or possibility of Dyslexia or other SpLD being present and cannot be used in evidence that Dyslexia is present.

What is Dyslexia and how does it relate to other Specific Learning Difficulties? (SpLD)

Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD), or Neurodiverse Co-occurring/Overlapping  difficulties affect the way information is learned and processed. They are neurological (rather than psychological), usually run in families and occur independently of intelligence. They can have significant impact on education and learning and on the acquisition of literacy skills.

It is equally important to recognise the positive aspects of Dyslexia and other SpLD, and the benefits these can bring if utilised or supported.  The mental function that causes dyslexia is a gift in the truest sense of the word.  It is something special that enhances the individual.  Dyslexics don’t all develop the same gifts, but they do have certain mental functions in common. Here are some of the basic abilities all dyslexics share:

Conscientiousness and determination.

Creativity and innovation

Holistic ways of dealing with tasks (Considering and taking in all factors, analysing the whole issue). 

They can utilise the brain’s ability to alter and create perceptions

They are highly aware of the environment

They are more curious than average

They think mainly in pictures instead of words

They are highly intuitive and insightful

They think and perceive multi-dimensionally (using all the senses)

They can experience thought as reality

They have vivid imaginations

These abilities, if not suppressed, invalidated or destroyed, will result in two characteristics:  higher than normal intelligence and extraordinary creative abilities.  From these the true gifts of dyslexia can emerge – the gift of mastery.

SpLD is an umbrella term used to cover a range of frequently co-occurring difficulties or challenges, more commonly:

Auditory Processing Disorder.

SpLD can also co-occur with difficulties on the autistic spectrum such as Asperger Syndrome.

Be aware that similar terminology can lead to confusion. For example, the term ‘Learning Difficulties’ is generally applied to people with global (as opposed to specific) difficulties, indicating an overall impairment of intellect and function.

In general, a student may be diagnosed with a SpLD where there is a lack of achievement at age and ability level, or a large discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability.

An untrained observer may conclude that a student with a SpLD is ‘lazy‘, or ‘just not trying hard enough’. For example, they may find it difficult understanding the large discrepancy between reading comprehension and proficiency in verbal ability, or between reading level and poor written work. The observer only sees the input and output, not the processing of the information. Deficiencies in the processing of information can make learning and expressing ideas difficult or impossible tasks.

Because of the high level of co-occurrence between different SpLDs, it is important to understand that each profile is unique to the individual and can appear in a variety of ways. The effects of a SpLD are manifested differently for different students and range from mild to severe. It may be difficult to diagnose, to determine impact, and to accommodate.

Unidentified and unsupported dyslexia and related conditions can lead to emotional distress, frustration and poor self-esteem. This can result in a child becoming withdrawn, or more commonly to develop behavioural issues. Rather than focusing on behavioural problems, schools would be advised instead to address the possible underlying causes, which in many cases may be previously undiagnosed specific learning difficulties.

Types of Specific Learning Difficulty.

Dyslexia: Dyslexia is a hidden disability thought to affect around 15% of the population, 4% severely. It is the most common of the SpLD. Dyslexia is usually hereditary.

A student with dyslexia may mix up letters within words and words within sentences while reading. They may also have difficulty with spelling words correctly while writing; letter reversals are common.

However, Dyslexia is not only about literacy, although weaknesses in literacy are often the most visible sign. Dyslexia affects the way information is processed, stored and retrieved, with problems of memory, speed of processing, time perception, organisation and sequencing. Some may also have difficulty navigating a route, left and right and compass directions.

Dyspraxia: is a difficulty with co-ordination and the organisation of movement; thought-processing can also be affected. Language comprehension may not match language production. Articulation and pronunciation may also be affected.
In common with dyslexia, there are memory and organisational weaknesses. There may be weakness in social skills and difficulties judging socially acceptable behaviour, anxiety in unfamiliar situations, orientation/place-finding problems and the experience of sensory overload. Often co-occurs with dyslexia.

Dyscalculia: is a difficulty understanding maths concepts and symbols. It is characterised by an inability to understand simple number concepts and to master basic numeracy skills. There are likely to be difficulties dealing with numbers at very elementary levels; this includes learning number facts and procedures, telling the time, time keeping, understanding quantity, prices and money. Difficulties with numeracy and maths are also common with dyslexia.

A.D.H.D/A.D.D. Signs of Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder include inattention, restlessness, impulsivity, erratic, unpredictable and inappropriate behaviour, blurting out inappropriate comments or interrupting excessively. Some students come across unintentionally as aggressive. Most fail to make effective use of feedback.
If no hyperactivity is present, the term Attention Deficit Disorder should be used: these individuals have particular problems remaining focused so may appear 'dreamy' and not to be paying attention. Students with this condition are very easily distracted, lose track of what they are doing and have poor listening skills. By failing to pay attention to details, they may miss key points. Often co-occurs with dyslexia.

Auditory Processing Disorder: frequently associated with dyslexia, students may have difficulty understanding when listening, expressing themselves clearly using speech, reading, remembering instructions, understanding spoken messages and staying focused.

Autistic spectrum: autistic characteristics such as Asperger syndrome, can co-exist with the conditions described above. Those affected often demonstrate unusual behaviours due to inflexible thinking, over-reliance on routines, a lack of social and communication skills.

Some common characteristics of SpLD.

  • Memory difficulties.
  • Organisational difficulties.
  • Writing difficulties.
  • Visual processing difficulties.
  • Reading difficulties.
  • Auditory processing difficulties.
  • Time management difficulties.
  • Sensory distraction: an inability to screen out extraneous visual or auditory stimuli.

Visual Stress/Meares-Irlen Syndrome.

This is NOT Dyslexia, and can only be diagnosed by a specialist optometrist

Between 35-40% of pupils with dyslexic difficulties may experience visual disturbance when reading:
Text can appear distorted and words or letters appear to move or become blurred.
There may be difficulties tracking across the page.
White paper or backgrounds can appear too dazzling and make print hard to decipher.

Good lighting can help overcome some visual problems and in particular the avoidance of white boards and white paper. Coloured filters can help settle down visual disturbance, however, this will not help with Dyslexia challenges, such as short term working memory deficiency and processing skills.

Public Contact details:

Website   Please note, we are in the process of upgrading and restructuring our current website, so the name of the Charity Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire Dyslexia Association has not yet been changed.  It is helpful to provide a contact telephone number, as most information provided is frequently insufficient to answer the query, so we will ask for a telephone number if not supplied.  All information is in strictest confidence and never shared with third parties without permission. Our privacy policy can be seen on our website.

Social Media:  Our Facebook link can be found on the front page of our website.

Office, Administration and general Enquiries:  01327 703626

Helpline:  01604 328 075. This number operates on an answerphone basis. Messages can be left 24/7 and one of the helpline team of professional adviser should be able to call back within 12 hours.       Please note all our helpline team are volunteers and do this in their own time.

Venue:  Northamptonshire & Buckinghamshire Dyslexia Association (NaBDA) no longer has an Advice Centre or office. We receive no funding and are using our limited resources to offer a flexible service across both Counties and surrounding areas where there is limited or no provision for dyslexics.

Please use our email address for all correspondence.

If you need to ‘snail-mail’ anything to NaBDA please contact our Admin Team on 01327 703 626 for further details.

Service Details

Provided by:
Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire Dyslexia Association
Northampton (covers Milton Keynes also)

Organisation Details

Our Vision A dyslexia friendly society enabling all dyslexics to reach their potential.

Our Aim To support the needs of all dyslexic children and young people in education and adults in the workplace.

Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire Dyslexia Association

Other services provided by this organisation

NOTE: The council is not responsible for any information contained on external web sites.

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