My Experience Studying at University with Dyslexia
Support provided on arrival
I had always struggled with writing at school and college but had never understood why. So, when I started at Leeds Beckett, the university suggested that I have a screening test. The results identified that I have dyspraxia and dyslexia. Without this screening, I would not have known why I was so bad at grammar and spelling and I was finally able to understand why.
After the test, the disability team informed me about the different types of support I could access to help me with my studies. The first thing I did was apply for disabled student allowance (DSA) which paid for a new laptop and all the supporting software I needed to get through university. I was informed about a software called Read and Write which reads my work back to me so that I can correct it. It also allows me to change the colour of the text background so that I can read it easier. I also got a mind mapping software which helps me plan my work visually, with added colours to help me read it. They also told me about a programme called Dragon, where I talk into a microphone and it writes down what I was saying. This helps me get my ideas out of my head and onto the page. Lastly, I was introduced to the live scribe pen which records what lecturers say as I make notes. This helped when I had to recall what the tutors said during tutorials. This has helped me in my studies when planning, so I can write down what they say and then mind map it.
Support provided during university
The support that I have found most useful is having access to a personal mentor. My mentor Leigh has helped me out a lot. Just being able to talk to her about my problems and how I am doing has made university life a lot easier. When I have a problem with my university work, she will talk it through with me and see how she can help. Leigh has also been there for me when I had troubles in my flat. I would talk to her when I needed someone.
I also have a member of staff who helps me with my studies 1-2-1. She goes through and reads my work out to me. I have bad spelling and grammar mostly so just having her read it out loud helps me to spot my own mistakes and see how I can improve. She doesn’t just tell me what is wrong or tell me exactly what to do. She encourages me to work it out for myself, with her support. I believe because of this I have improved my grammar, so it makes more sense to the reader. She has given me ideas for new words which make more grammatical sense and has improved my academic writing.
I am grateful for the support
Without Leeds Becket identifying my dyspraxia and dyslexia I would not have received any help and would have struggled to get through university. I am thankful that the university suggested doing the screening test and I am most thankful for Leigh as she has been there for me since the start.