The British Dyslexia Association found 10 percent of the population suffer from dyslexia, making it the most common learning disability in the UK. Dyslexia comes in different forms and different severities depending on the person.
People with dyslexia are presented with challenges on a daily basis. One person with dyslexia will have different struggles to another, and there are no definitive symptoms. Instead, there is a checklist of symptoms that each individual may have a select few of. This list includes both reading and writing slowly, having spelling difficulties and having issues with organising and planning.
Within university life, students with dyslexia can struggle with the independence of having to organise their own time between required reading, assignments and a healthy social life. Reading can take significantly longer for a student with dyslexia, this can be because words blur or the reader loses their place regularly, or even they have to reread several times to actually understand what they read. This can become time consuming, especially with a heavy reading list.
Writing essays also can be a struggle. Issues with writing essays can range from it simply taking longer to write, to misspelling words so significantly that they are autocorrected to completely different words. It can also take longer to proofread work, and mistakes are often missed.
At the start of this academic year I went to UEA Student Support to look into getting tested for dyslexia as it always had been implied through my school life that I could have it, but my school would never actually test me as I was getting high grades. The support I gained from the university was outstanding and they were able to guide me through the process of getting tested and what support I would be given if I was diagnosed.
The university provide free tuition to help students with learning disabilities, ranging from helping with reading strategies to memory and revision techniques. The tuition sessions help to put those with dyslexia and other learning difficulties on a level playing field with those without. The coping strategies help to aid with struggles the students have been having in university and also in help with their future lives.
The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is the main disability grant. It is a part of student finance which gives aid to students with learning disabilities. The DSA can provide a wide range of support, from a printer to partially paying for a laptop to providing software such as text to speech or mind map software. This support can be most beneficial to those with learning disabilities, especially software like text speech where work is read out, meaning mistakes otherwise missed will be evident as they can be heard clearly. For more information on being tested for dyslexia or any other learning disability, go to the Student Support Service page on the UEA Portal.