Some of you will be setting off to university next month. Starting afresh is exciting but also a bit scary. The video has lots of good advice from personalising your room to making sure you get out of it and meet people at Fresher’s Week.

The good news is that people with dyslexia often settle down faster than other students. Maybe this is because they have a lot of experience of being out of their comfort zone. They are the ones going left when everyone else is going right, who don’t have the right books in their bag or the perfect assignment with every word correctly spelt.

Tom Pellereau, winner of the Apprentice in 2011, said:

‘Dyslexia is tough but it has always been a massive positive for me. Everyone has unique skills; dyslexia means you become good at adapting and finding ways of solving problems. Your brain offers hundreds of different ways to solve the problem, which stands you in good stead.’


Plan ahead for what you will need to be independent. It is difficult to predict what support you will get with your studies and besides, some young people with dyslexia do not want to be singled out and choose not to apply for technology or study skills support. I would certainly urge all eligible students to look into what the Disabled Students Allownce (DSA) can offer but if you choose not to, at least make sure you have the technology you need to make your life easier. If you are getting a new phone/ tablet / laptop, don’t just go for the same as your friends. It has to be your workhorse and not just a style statement.

Buy it and try it before you go. Sean Douglas, Director of Extraordinaire Digital Media, the company behind The Codpast and DYSboxing says:

‘It amazes me when people choose not to buy third party software and settle for the limited features of the software that comes baked into their devices.’

For him the vital ingredient is text to speech software such as the ClaroSpeak Plus app. For others it might be mind mapping tools such as Inspiration. Have a look at DYSboxing for technology advice and check out reviews on the web to find out what other students with dyslexia recommend.


Don’t fall into the trap of trying to take everything with you. Some students try to replicate home and feel insecure if they don’t have lots of stuff but accommodation tends to be on the small side and the more cluttered it is, the harder it is to find what you need. Ditch the smoothie maker and the wok until you are really sure you can’t manage without them. Have a look at this great list of what to take and print it out.

Don’t load yourself down with too much stuff. Travel light, travel hopefully and it will be fine. Remember: you are a natural problem solver. It’s all those others who are at a disadvantage. They have never had your experiences and they don’t have your skills.

Written by Sal McKeown, a freelance journalist and author of How to Help your Dyslexic and Dyspraxic Child with a Foreword by Tom Pellereau and Supporting Adult Learners with Dyslexia: Harnessing the Power of Technology

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