[Press & Publications] Call for Greater Dyslexia Awareness in Universities

August 2000

No 161

An estimated 40% of dyslexic students are not identified as such–until they reach University. Now the University of Leicester has produced new guidelines in order to support dyslexic students through their degree courses.

The University’s AccessAbility Centre for students has produced a new edition of its Guidelines for Tutors and Markers on dyslexia.

Recognition and support from tutors is seen by students to be as important as assistance given by the AccessAbility in applying for financial support - usually computer equipment - from their LEA if undergraduate, or other funding bodies if not.

Study Support Officers Christine Carter and Linda Kirkham have written the booklet to give information and guidance to tutors in order to enhance their understanding of the condition.

They wrote “It is estimated that between one and two percent of students in higher education are dyslexic and many of these are identified after entry. Dyslexia does not imply a barrier to academic success, but those with dyslexic difficulties are likely to find some aspects of study unusually difficult and the demands of higher education can highlight areas of difficulty which may have previously been hidden or masked. This may account for the surprising fact that around 40 per cent of dyslexic students are not properly identified until they come to university.”

They emphasise that the best support that can be given to students with dyslexia is that those who teach and assess their work should have some understanding of the difficulties they encounter.

Suggestions for appropriate support are described in the booklet. These include:

  • Providing lecture notes/overheads in advance of lectures
  • Using demonstration analogies and ‘real-life’ examples to explain theories
  • Making instructions clear
  • Avoiding asking students to read out loud
  • Ignoring mispronunciations if the setting does not allow sensitive help
  • Helping to identify key texts
  • Accepting the need for repetition or verbal reinforcement of instructions
  • Making sure students are aware of the support available.
  • At the University of Leicester, the AcessAbility Centre has considerable experience in the support of students identified as dyslexic and those concerned about dyslexic-type difficulties.

    The booklet offers clear information and assistance and advises that if a student is known to be dyslexic, and wishes to be identified as such, this information should be circulated to all relevant tutors and markers.

    Advice is offered on how to assess the coursework, oral presentations and exam scripts. They explain that feedback about exam performance is as important as feedback after coursework submission; it helps tutors and students to ascertain the reasons for possible low marks or failure. It is important for dyslexic students to realise the extent to which low marks are due to a lack of detailed knowledge or to an inability to reflect their knowledge adequately in writing.”

    The booklet is available from the University of Leicester AccessAbility Centre, priced £3.50.

    NOTE TO NEWSDESK: For more information, please ring Linda or Christine on 0116 252 5002.


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    Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
    Last updated: 28 September 2000 09:47
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