Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Studying with Dyslexia

My name is Lucey, I’m 19 years old, I study BA (Hons) photography at The University Of Hertfordshire and I have dyslexia, dyspraxia and Asperger's syndrome. In this blog post I am going to be talking about how dyslexia can interfere with my studies but also how I try to get around these difficulties. 

Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that mainly affects the development of literacy and language related skills. Dyslexia is not a disease, it is something you are born with and it often runs in families. For example, both my Dad and Brother have it as well as me. My dyslexia wasn’t diagnosed until half year through year 12. This meant I went through my GCSE’s and some of sixth form with no help. This really annoys me as I feel it should have been spotted by my many teachers over the years. But it also makes me proud of myself because, even though I have only recently started getting proper support for my learning disabilities, I have made it through half of my degree.

Close up of a hand writing

Some of the things I struggle with are: remembering key dates and key words including their spellings. Spelling in general so I tend to use spell check quite a lot, which can’t be used in exams. Keeping calm when I get something wrong as it can be quite upsetting for me and therefore sometimes it just makes me want to cry. Structuring my written work so that it makes sense. Remembering what I was going to say/write as I will have a good point in my head and then it will go if I get distracted. 

Getting/using the wrong word meaning I will have a word in my head to use but something goes wrong between my head and my hand so I write something else meaning it doesn’t make sense to other people. Concentrating on anything because background noise such as talking can really distract me. Organising my work so that I get things done on time as I am not very good with my time and I tend to abandon my work. Understanding what a question is asking me. Making notes and re-reading my own writing.

However, I have found quite a few things that help me: Using colour coding in my work, I will write one sentence in black, one in blue and one in red for example, this is because if I write a whole paragraph in black it tends to all merge together when I look at it. I type my work up so that I can actually read it when it comes to things such as revision. Sometimes simple rhymes can help to remember key information, as long as they are short. 

Diagrams can also be quite useful as I am a visual learner so if I can see the information in a picture it can help. Putting text onto coloured paper can help me to read it, blue paper really helps me to read and on my computer, I have software that changed the colour of the screen so I can read it better. Mind maps can sometimes help me but not always.

Page of a dictionary with the word focus highlighted

If you feel that you have dyslexia, you can visit Student Wellbeing in the Hutton Hub on College lane for advice. They offer a testing service where you can be tested for dyslexia (this does come at a cost). If you find out that you do have dyslexia, then you can apply for DSA (disabled students allowance) meaning you may be entitled to equipment and software to help with your studies. You may also be entitled to a study skills tutor or/and mentor. These are people who are able to help you keep on track of your work, help you understand your briefs as well as making sure you are generally well. 

There is also more information available on the British Dyslexia Association website. I also created a YouTube video a few years ago about my dyslexia that may or may not be useful (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTEiqhl9dm0&t=7s). I hope you have found this blog post helpful and if you do have dyslexia, remember, it does not hold you back because you can do anything you put your mind to!


Hi, I’m Lucey, a member of the social street team at The University Of Hertfordshire. I am a 2nd year studying BA (hons) photography. I usually live in Cornwall, so I have come a long way to the uni but I feel it’s worth it. Come say hi if you see me around campus.

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