This post is based on an article written by Sarah Chapman.
Higher education can be an incredibly edifying and enriching experience. However an environment designed to push you to reach your full potential will ultimately present many students with challenges. Dyslexics students in particular, may find they need some help with certain aspects of university life.
- Clearly expressing ideas in writing and structuring essays
- Concentration and working quickly under pressure
- Interpreting written instructions or remembering spoken ones
- Maintaining focus whilst reading research journals
- Retaining and recalling information from lectures and often from books
- Taking useful notes
- Proofreading assignments
- Confidence and self-esteem
There are lots of resources and techniques that can help you level the playing field, and your first port of call should be your university’s disability services office. While waiting for, or in addition to the help your university may provide, there are a few tried and tested studyhacks,that will aid you in navigating through some of the obstacles Dyslexia can throw in your path.
- Audio Note Taking: Do you record your lectures? Rather than simultaneously trying to listen, take written notes and participate in class. Using a Dictaphone or your smart phone to record lectures will ensure that you can concentrate on the lesson, safe in the knowledge that you have a comprehensive record of all the information needed to complete your assignments. Save the audio files in a folder on your laptop, so that you can play them whilst reading through your lecture PowerPoint slides and play them again before you write your essays. Top Tip: Have you tried the Audio Notetaker app?
- Note taking: Use highlighters, bullets and illustrations so key points stand out, file all notes in date order, including ones from note-takers or use your laptop in lectures. Try mind-mapping key points. It’s much easier to structure your work/ideas when it’s in front of you and not just in your head.
- Reading for purpose: Target your research and be realistic about how long you can read before you lose focus. Read in short bursts to avoid overloading.
- Organisation: Reduce any unnecessary stress. Always use a diary to stay on top. Put in all deadlines, weekly readings and allocated time for specific module tasks. Top Tip: Sync Your Phone and Laptop Calendars
- Take breaks: Working all day everyday with only exhaust you and could affect your grades. Work in smaller blocks and stick to it with a “can do” attitude. Little blocks will soon add up, and before you know it you will be checking your references and submitting your work.
- Use Reading Aids: Make it easier on yourself. Using coloured paper/plastic overlays can dramatically improve your reading speed and comprehension, if you experience “Visual Stress”. Change the background colour of your document and try using a font such as Century Gothic (font size 12 and a line spacing of 1.5cm) to lessen the strain on your eyes.
- Assistive Technology: Use it to plan, do and check your work. It is there to help you. If you are unsure about how to use your Assistive Tech spend some time watching demos on YouTube or look on the websites of the software companies directly. Software such as Global Autocorrect, Text Help or ClaroRead, could make your life an awful lot easier. Take a look at some of their videos to get an idea of howAssistive Tech can help make your life easier.
Whether you have already been identified as dyslexic, think you may be or want an assessment, contact your university’s student support center for more information.
Read the full article by Sarah Chapman here:
Sarah Chapman is a proud dyslexic blogger. She is winner of National Diversity Award for Positive Role model and Mrs Chapman is currently working with ‘Young Dyslexics’, a campaign to help young children with dyslexia. She is currently studying at the University of Derby where she specialises in Education with Special Educational Needs and Disability.
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