Higher Education

Choice

Choosing the right university and course is a big decision. If you know you have Dyslexia it is advisable that you investigate the support facilities at the university of your choice, in order to make sure provisions can be put in place to support your Dyslexia. The university will have an disability team and you should contact them to advise on procedure and facilities to support your time at that university.

A few guidelines for questions to ask the university student support team are:

  • What facilities do you offer to Dyslexic students?
  • What is the timescale of registering yourselves as Dyslexic to receiving support?
  • What is the policy for student support?
  • What support will I receive?
  • Who can I ask for help if I am unsure of what to do?

If you are a current university student and suspect that you may have Dyslexia, don't worry - contact your disability team at once and they will give you advice. Alternatively, contact us to discuss what to do next on our Freephone: 0800 077 8763. Remember, each university will have a slightly different procedure to the next.

Beginning University

If you have accepted a place at university and know you have Dyslexia, it is advisable to tell the disability team at your chosen university as soon as possible. Remember, if you don't declare it, the university won't know and can't provide you with the available support.

Dyslexia Screening

If you think you may be Dyslexic and are at university, we would advise speaking to the disability team who will be able to advise you on what to do. For an example of screening tool see our digital screening tool. A screening can suggest if you have characteristics associated with Dyslexia and is one of the first steps in identifying Dyslexia.

Assessment

At higher education level, an assessment for Dyslexia should be carried out by an Educational Psychologist or practitioner who has 'Approved Teacher Status' who specialises in post-16 assessments for Dyslexia. Your university should be able to put you in contact with an assessor, alternatively, feel free to contact us for impartial advice on dyslexia assessments and what you need to know.

An assessment will cost between £300 - £400 and you may be asked to make a contribution towards the cost. Please note this contribution varies between universities, so do remember to check first with your university.

If you find you have to pay for the assessment yourself, remember to ask if the university has a bursary scheme or can help towards the cost. For more information, please see our funding section.

DSA

If you are in a position where you have had your Dyslexia confirmed by an assessment, you can apply for support through the government’s Disabled Students’ Allowance scheme which will provide for personal support and equipment to aid you through your studies where your disability is affecting your education. For more information on DSA procedures, please visit the DSA website

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Your DSA application form will need to be submitted to the SLC. The Student Loans Company administers government-funded loans and grants to students throughout the United Kingdom. They are responsible, in partnership with Local Authorities in England and Wales, the Student Awards Agency for Scotland, the Education and Library boards in Northern Ireland, the Higher Education Institutions and HM Revenue & Customs, for student support delivery in the UK. It can take a number of weeks for your application to be processed, so it is advisable to fill out and send off your application as soon as possible. Here is a link to the SLC website.

In England, your DSA application form will need to be submitted through Student Finance England; in Scotland or Wales there is a separate application form. The process takes many weeks, so it is advisable to submit your application as soon as possible. Remember you will need your university to stamp and sign your DSA1 application if you are a part-time undergraduate or postgraduate student.

Allied health professionals such as nurses, midwives, doctors or dentists should make application for a NHS-funded bursary. Applications are available from the NHS Student Bursaries website or more information is available in the following PDF: Download .PDF

Needs Assessment

If your application is successful, Student Finance England will contact you and ask you to arrange a Needs Assessment – this is a meeting with a specialist who can draw up a set of recommendations for you, based on your Dyslexia Assessment.

A Needs Assessment is the next step in receiving support and takes the form of a meeting with a Needs Assessor. The assessor will identify within your difficulties (as outlined in your educational psychology assessment) possible solutions in the form of technological interventions to assist you in your studies.

This process can take a number of weeks so if you are in a scenario where your course has commenced and you haven't yet received your support, it is advisable to speak to your university which may be able to provide interim measures of support. The best thing to do in all cases is ask your university’s disability team.

One to One

One valuable aspect that DSA funding provides is one-to-one support, which in most cases takes the form of regular sessions with Support Tutors who will aid you to get the best out of your work. For examples of what you can expect from one-to-one support, please have a look at some of our case studies.

One-to-one support includes:-

  • Helping you to understand your own specific learning difficulties and how they may affect your studies.
  • Introduction to techniques and strategies that will improve your ability to study more effectively and independently.
  • Guidance on how to develop and utilise your learning strengths to help you study more efficiently.

Amanuensis - Helper/Translator

If part of your Dyslexia includes difficulty with spelling, slow copying speed when writing and difficulty translating ideas or thoughts into a written document, then an Amanuensis could be of benefit. An Amanuensis, in some cases referred to as a scribe, would be beneficial to Dyslexic students who have difficulty with written responses.

A few things to consider if you choose to access help from an Amanuensis: The Amanuensis should be suitably qualified to undertake the role that you require from them and have a full understanding of Dyslexia. It is recommended that time be allocated to allow practice sessions with the Amanuensis in order to familiarise with this method of working.

Technology

There is a large amount of technology which can assist you in your studies that can help with different elements of Dyslexia. For instance, the phonic spellchecker will support a student's spellchecking by providing word selection based on sound and not letter composition; therefore providing more accurate spelling alternatives.

In research strategies, a text reader can help students to check the meaning of words quickly without using paper-based dictionaries, which can be time consuming. A text reader can also scan text and read out loud from a page to help with an understanding of the written work as a whole.

There is a wide range of technologies that can assist you with your dyslexia. The Needs Assessment process will pin point the best solutions for you.

Exam Adjustments

In some cases a Dyslexia Assessor makes recommendations for adjustments to the usual exam conditions in their assessment, based on the person’s Dyslexia.  This often takes the form of additional time during examinations. If you find you are in a situation where you're really struggling with examinations, it is advised to discuss additional exam concessions with your university’s disability team.

Employment Transition

The transition from university into employment can be daunting and, if you are Dyslexic, there are a number of issues which may concern you.

A key issue is whether or not to disclose your Dyslexia as many people are fearful about highlighting anything they feel could further disadvantage them in their application. However, if it is not clear in your application that you are Dyslexic, your application may be viewed less favourably to other applications. This may be due to issues such as the structure of your personal statement or minor spelling and grammatical errors.

Job adverts that have two tick symbol indicates the employer operates a policy of positive discrimination in favour of candidates who declare a disability or specific learning difficulty such as Dyslexia. As long as a candidate meets the basic selection criteria, they will automatically be offered an interview so that they are able to present themselves in person and demonstrate what they can offer.