Now that the giddying highs of your first few months of university life have subsided. The true realisation of how much work and information you need to absorb in the next few years, has probably become apparent. As a dyslexic student, that realisation may be just that little bit more daunting.
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In my experience, dyslexic students fall into one of three categories.
- A student that breezes through university on a course where dyslexia doesn’t cause them problems.
- A Student that realises/knows where their areas of weakness lie and are already taking advantage of the help provided by their university.
- A student that is struggling in silence, hiding their dyslexia because of the stigma or misconceptions around what asking for help will mean.
If you’re a number 2, you can probably stop reading as you are probably already benefiting from the help and resources available to you. If you’re a 1 or 3 you may be interested in what you find if you read on.
Many students are still a little coy when it comes to disclosing they are dyslexic. There are many myths about the consequences of disclosing that you’re dyslexic or you may be.
Commonly held myths:
- If I disclose that I find elements of my course challenging I will be kicked off the course.
- Culturally with in my family/group of friends dyslexia is something that is not talked about and still has a lot of stigma. If I seek help or advice it will get back to my parents/family/friends.
- I want to prove I can do it by myself without any extra time or leeway for spelling.
- I’m doing ok, I don’t actually feel that I need any extra help or advice, so there’s no point disclosing it.
Whichever category you fall into, it may be worth your while making some form of contact with the department in your uni’ that deals with dyslexic students. Once there, if you feel what’s on offer is not for you, don’t worry you won’t be forced to take help or put onto some sort of black list. Quite the contrary, you might be pleasantly surprised but the information you do find.
“It can only be a positive thing for somebody to come along and say that their dyslexic or might be Dyslexic” says Peter DeCasagrande, an Adviser with The Disability and Dyslexia Service at Brunel University, London.“Lots of students worry about what’s going to happen to them if they say their dyslexic. They worry that someone’s gonna say, ‘we’ll you can’t do your course,’ where as in fact the opposite is the case. If they come and see us it’s a completely confidential service, we won’t do anything without the student wanting us to. We won’t tell the academic school they are dyslexic if they don’t want us to. Support is only geared towards what the student wants.”
If you’ve already been diagnosed with dyslexia at school or college, the chances are at some point you’ve heard the chorus line from D-haters, “isn’t it unfair that dyslexics get a free computer” or, “isn’t it unfair that dyslexics get extra time.” With the new found freedom and independence that uni’ life can instil, we sometimes start to harbour some of this sentiment ourselves. We want to prove to the world we can do uni’ just the same as anyone else. Taking this stance may feel great in the short term, but can sometimes cause problems further down the line. “There are lots of students that come to us when they’re struggling saying, ‘I wish I’d come here