5 -11 October 2020 marks Dyslexia Awareness Week. To find out how you can get involved, please visit the British Dyslexia Association website.

Megan McCluskey – First year Criminology and Law

I have dyscalculia, which is a specific learning difficulty related to maths. I like to explain it as having dyslexia but with maths instead of letters, purely because people understand that, but it’s a lot more complicated than that for me. I can’t read 24-hour time unless I subtract 2 from the second digit of the number – e.g. if a digital clock reads 18:00, I would do 8 – 2, which is 6, to figure out that the time is 6pm. Most people can do this without even thinking, but it takes a lot of willpower on my part to even begin to understand. I also struggle with counting money and knowing how much change to give someone, so games like Monopoly are my worst nightmare, especially if I’m the banker!

But dyscalculia doesn’t just affect my ability to do maths and comprehend numbers. I also can’t read sheet music, and I struggle to play games with strategies, like Battleships. I can’t play video games because the controls don’t make sense to me, and I can’t do crosswords or wordsearches because my brain can’t seem to make sense of them.

To anyone struggling with something similar, I would say push to get the help you need. Be persistent, because the provisions out there are rare and often lacking. When I tried to get help in primary school, I was told there was nothing wrong with me, and that I was just “slow”, and when I tried to get help in high school, they couldn’t provide me with a formal diagnosis, as they just didn’t have the right resources. You can support people struggling with dyscalculia by being patient with them, and if they ask you what seems to be a silly question about the time, or giving change, just answer it. Don’t make fun of them. Also don’t make them be the banker in Monopoly! You might be frustrated at them constantly giving the wrong amounts of money to you, but imagine how they feel trying to count the money or work out how much change to give in the first place.

Erin Muir – First year Housing Studies

Erin Muir

I was diagnosed with my learning disability around a year and a half ago thanks to Student Learning Services, I often describe it as when you’re attempting to put a plug in a socket, and you’re going round and round without it going into place. Meaning that the thoughts and processes in my head struggle to be expressed, particularly on paper. And vice versa, I can read and read the same document, even sentence, but I cannot take the words into my brain and completely grasp the meaning. In addition to this, long emails (reading on screens is even more difficult than paper), and completely online documents that are not printable make life difficult for some, as well as presentations under a timed setting can cause unnecessary stress for students. On the whole the important work of SLS  makes the university very user friendly, and often goes over and above help those students that need it.

Accessibility and inclusion

Our Accessibility and Inclusion service offers support for anyone with physical and mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, mental health conditions and learning difficulties such as dyslexia. We’re here to help with everything from exam arrangements to needs assessment for assistive technology. We can also let you know about additional financial benefits you may be entitled to and connect you with a Student Adviser where appropriate.

For more information please visit here

For more ways to take part in Dyslexia Awareness Week, visit the British Dyslexia Association website.