Post: Typical Questions Asked by University Students during Educational Psychology Assessment

Questions and Answers

Q.   What’s made me Dyslexic?

A.   The exact cause is unknown, although, as it often runs in families; it is considered that genetic factors are involved.

Q.   How have I got to the 2nd year of my degree without knowing I’m Dyslexic?

A.   Unless you have a severe form of dyslexia, and you have been able to mask your literacy difficulties at school, it is unlikely that you would have been targeted for additional support or referred for a specialist dyslexia assessment. It is often when academic work becomes harder and greater emphasis is placed on independent study, that students really notice that they are struggling and either ‘drop out’ of their course, or approach a tutor or student wellbeing department to share their concerns.

Q.   I have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).  What do I do now?

A.   An Educational Psychology assessment can provide evidence of this Specific Learning Difficulty, enabling access to Disabled Students Allowance (DSA).  Exam concessions, such as rest breaks and a separate room to sit your exams in, is recommended.  In addition, I always advise a medical appointment to explore a medical diagnosis.  This may enable access to medication to help with focus; and counselling, if symptoms associated with your ADD, such as poor concentration and distractibility, are affecting your emotional wellbeing.

Q.   How do Dyspraxic Tendencies affect me at university?

A.   As many students with dyspraxia struggle with handwriting, language, perception, thought, organisation and time management; at university, you may have difficulty taking notes in lectures at the pace required; understanding charts; organising and keeping your files in good order; handing in assignments on time; and meeting competing, academic demands.  In addition, emotional problems are often experienced.

Q.  Can I get support for my difficulties?

A.   An Educational Psychology assessment can provide evidence of any of the  Specific Learning Difficulties, enabling access to Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) through student Finance England.

a.  For students with Dyspraxic Tendencies:

  • Individual tuition on the planning and organisation of practical and academic work.
  • Examples of essays and other means of assessment.
  • Work timetables, flow charts, mind maps, hand-outs, use of a computer in lectures and exams, where possible.
  • Training in relaxation techniques.
  • Extra time for course work and exams.
  • Dictaphone to record lectures

b.  For students with ADD:

  • Mini milestones can help with prioritising tasks and supporting progress.
  • Regular reminders about timescales can help you link tasks to the time you have available.
  • Organisational aids, including, visual reminders; prioritised lists; and Gantt style charts can support you in managing your work step-by-step.
  • To help manage competing information, look at context during lectures to help tie pieces of information together.
  • Use colour coded formulas for paragraphs, such as, PEA – Point, Evidence, Analysis, as a visual aid to organising and sequencing your ideas and helping develop your academic writing style.

c.   For students with Dyslexia:

  • Individual tuition from a specialist dyslexia tutor.
  • Specialist software, including speech to text or mind mapping.
  • Consider telling your tutors you are dyslexic as they are likely to offer their support and judge your work on the content rather than your spelling skills.
  • Exam concessions, such as extra time.
  • Spell checker.
  • Photocopying allowance.