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Caitlin Irwin | University of Sunderland

English and Creative Writing BA (Hons)

Being Dyslexic in Higher Education

So, earlier this year I found out that I have dyslexia. At first, I was extremely worried as to how this might have an impact on my life at University, and my degree, would I struggle? The answer is simple – no. Although at times being dyslexic might seem like it gets in the way, your ability to get a good degree is really not effected.

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The University of Sunderland is great in that it’s disability support are truly amazing. If you want the help, they will give you all the support that you need. They can help you apply for your disability support allowance and then make sure you get anything you need that may help you (such as dictaphones, laptops, tuition).

When it comes to exams, extra time allowance still applies, so if you’re eligible for it, you will get it. Lecturers can be made aware of any requirements you may have also, so that if you need reading materials and things for lectures and seminars before the class this can be provided. Any difficulties you may have with presentations or speaking out in class can also be made known to your lecturers so that you don’t have to worry and arrangements can be made.

The most important thing to do is if you want the support, or think you are suffering from dyslexia you just have to take a trip to disability support. Dyslexia tests are provided for free at the University, and providing you get your disability support allowance, extra one on one tuition is also free.

I’ve found that the best things I can do to help me manage is by staying organised. I always make sure to get my reading list as quickly as I can and try and read the books I need before the semester even starts that way I don’t have to try and do it while managing assignments as well. I keep a diary and lists, and try and plan out my writing for essays in timetables. Printing of notes for lectures and highlighting the important bits can also be something which is extremely helpful. Having your own strategies can really make a difference.

Finally, being dyslexic in higher education does not make a difference to your learning and will not stop you getting to where ever you want to be.

And, if you don’t believe me, heres a list of famous people with dyslexia:

Agatha Christie

Tom Cruise

Winston Churchill

Richard Branson

Tommy Hilfiger

Kiera Knightley

…and theres like so many more.

agathachristie richardbranson


Caitlin x

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