Many of the students we support are dyslexic and the support we offer reflects the wide diversity of individual needs we encounter with our students. We recognise that some students are worried about the diagnosis of dyslexia but we feel that a sensitively negotiated support programme is the best way of ensuring that you reach your full potential. We would, therefore, strongly encourage you to explore the options available as early as possible.
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty mainly affecting reading and spelling. The British Dyslexia Association’s (BDA) definition explains dyslexia in a little more detail:
“Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty which mainly affects the development of literacy and language related skills. It is likely to be present at birth and to be lifelong in its effects. It is characterised by difficulties with phonological processing, rapid naming, working memory, processing speed and the automatic development of skills that may not match up to an individual’s other cognitive abilities. It tends to be resistant to conventional teaching methods, but its effects can be mitigated by appropriately specific intervention, including the application of information technology and supportive counselling.”
For more information please see the BDA website: bdadyslexia.org.uk
Common difficulties and possible effects on your studies
No two Dyslexic individuals will show the same strengths and weaknesses within their academic studies but, some of the common difficulties they may identify with are:
Grammar and punctuation
Remembering facts and figures (e.g. telephone numbers)
Slow reading and re-reading information for meaning
Organisation and time management skills
Forgetting what you want to say or finding it difficult to find the right words to say
At University these difficulties will have a big impact on your studies. You will certainly have a lot of reading and research to undertake, which you may find extremely time consuming and stressful. You will need to take notes during lectures. You may have difficulties processing what has been said while trying to make notes and listen to the next part of the lecture at the same time. You will have a lot of information to remember for possible examinations and a full timetable and task planner to organise which may make you feel overwhelmed.
I think I might be dyslexic but I’ve never been assessed
You don’t have to struggle on your own. If you can relate to some of the difficulties and effects mentioned above, you might wish to consider having a screening test. Screening tests are designed to give you an indication of possible dyslexic difficulties - they are not a diagnosis and are not 100% accurate. However, they help you to check whether the difficulties you are experiencing are dyslexic in nature and will help you decide whether you wish to have a diagnostic assessment that will give a full breakdown of your needs.
The screening service is free and can be arranged by contacting any member of the team. We aim to offer you an appointment within one week of your request. Use our contact details below to arrange an appointment or download our Screening Document (PDF, file size: 67.87KB) .
If your screening indicates the likelihood of dyslexia, a full diagnostic assessment will be offered to you. The process will be explained to you at your meeting with an advisor, or you can download our Process Document (PDF, file size: 61.62KB) . This assessment can be arranged within four weeks. This will provide you with a full report on your dyslexia and will help us to make sure your support programme best meets your needs. Funding for this may be available through the Student Hardship Fund.
If you are in the process of applying to study here, we can still help you to arrange an assessment on the basis that you take up a place at Staffordshire University. (If you do not, then we would invoice you for the cost of the assessment.)
I am Dyslexic. What does this mean?
If you have been diagnosed as having Dyslexia you might have mixed emotions. You may feel angry, relieved or you may feel confused – What does this mean? Can I get support?
The exact cause of dyslexia is still unknown and research continues into different theories. One theory is that individuals with Dyslexia may use their brains differently to someone without Dyslexia, and this has certainly been identified through MRI and Positron Emission Tomography Scans (PET scan). Decoding dyslexia link explains this further: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKekE10b82s&feature=related
What happens now I have been diagnosed as dyslexic?
Funding for support for students in Higher Education is provided through the Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs), which help pay the extra costs that you may have as a result of dyslexia.
We can help you to apply to your Funding Authority for the Disabled Students’ Allowances to pay for your study related support. The Government website explains the DSA process.
We will help you to arrange an assessment of support needs at an Assessment Centre. The Staffordshire Regional Access Centre is based at Staffordshire University and can offer you this assessment.
We will put together a support agreement with you to make sure that recommendations made in your diagnostic assessment are put in place, for example, appropriate examination and assessment arrangements.
We will put in place any recommended support, for example, note takers, readers, specialist study skills tuition.