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Studying with dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties

Expert guidance from Study Advice at the University of Reading

Specific learning difficulties (SpLD) such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD) are more common among
university students than might be thought. For example, an estimated 10% of the student population is thought to have dyslexic difficulties. Many students will already have been assessed before coming to university. Others will only begin to suspect that they might have a problem when they have difficulty with the more complex and extensive studies they are expected to undertake at university. Times of transition, for example, when moving from school or college to university or from undergraduate to postgraduate study, can be particularly challenging for students with SpLD’s as strategies that were once relied upon, may not work quite so well in he new setting.

While studying at university with an SpLD will certainly have its challenges, there are a number of approaches that can help you manage your studies. Remember that everyone will work differently, so not every suggestion will work for every student. It is important to give yourself time, particularly during transition times, to try things out till you find what works best for you.

If you'd like to discuss a particular study issue, do book an appointment to chat with a Study Adviser. While we cannot proofread your work, or meet with you on a weekly basis, you may be able to organise some more regular help through the Disability Advisory Service.

If you think you have an SpLD...

If you think you may have dyslexia or dyspraxia

You might find it helpful to book an individual advice session with a Study Adviser for an initial chat. We can talk to you about study strategies, explain the 'reasonable adjustments' available to students with dyslexia or dyspraxia, and give you some information about the assessment process.

The Disability Advisory Service can provide more detailed information about assessment availability, costs and the assessment process itself.

For other specific learning difficulties like dyscalculia and AD(H)D, contact the Disability Advisory Service directly to find out how to get assessment and advice.


If you have already been assessed...

Make sure you get any 'reasonable adjustments' that you may be entitled to by submitting a copy of your assessment to the Disability Advisory Service as soon as possible. Don't wait until just before exams to do this - it can take some time to get adjustments put in place, especially at busy periods.

Do also come and have a chat with a Study Adviser - even if you have good strategies that have been effective through school and college, you are likely to need to develop them for university study.


Asperger Syndrome

If you have been diagnosed with, or think you may have Asperger Syndrome, contact the Disability Advisory Service for more advice.