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Getting to the Root Causes of Learning Difficulties

08 February 2010
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It is estimated that around ten per cent of the population has a specific learning difficulty which impacts on individuals’ potential to learn, ability to socialise and to become independent at school, in work and in the wider world. This can impact on a person’s progress in education as well as their ability to find and hold down a job.

It is against this backdrop that National Learning Network today hosted an information day on a computerised screening tool – the Do It Profiler – at the Institute of Technology in Blanchardstown. The Do it Profiler is particularly aimed at educational bodies and HR departments in companies which want to maximise people’s potential and ensure that skills are recognised, understood and supported.

The tool examines an individual’s literacy skills, study skills, maths skills, and working memory, offers tailored advice, guidance and strategies, and suggests onward referral for more specific guidance as appropriate.

Professor Amanda Kirby from the Dyscovery Centre at the University of Wales, and Professor Ian Smythe, a visiting professor at the University, are responsible for pioneering the tool. Speaking about the reasons for developing the tool, Professor Kirby says:
“There is extensive evidence that the way we learn can’t be compartmentalised into neat boxes and that specific learning difficulties usually overlap with one another. In order to support individuals the rationale is to gain a ‘whole’ picture of the individual’s strengths and difficulties. The profiler aims to assist with this.”

Dawn Duffin, National Learning Network’s Head of Learning and Assessment Services, comments:
“Failure to identify a person’s strengths and weaknesses inevitably leads to poor performance in school, college and in work, and leads to frustration for everyone concerned. But it doesn’t have to be like this. The Do It Profiler looks at potential difficulties in the areas of reading and writing, motor co-ordination, as well as in attention and behaviour, and in social and communication skills.

“While it is not a diagnostic tool, it does provide a holistic picture of the individual’s learning profile and provides an indication of difficulties which can be related to dyslexia, Aspergers, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and dyspraxia. The exercise can be undertaken in around 30 minutes and, in providing instant feedback, avoids what might otherwise be time-consuming and resource intensive assessment. It can be such a huge relief for people to finally find out some answers to particular issues for them.”

For more information on the Do it Profiler, please contact Denise Richardson on 01 885 1386 or email


Issued by: Dara Duffy, Rehab, 01 2057268