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How do I access support?

Students with dyslexia (or other SpLD) should register with Student Disability Services. Make an appointment to come and meet with a Disability Adviser – or come to one of the daily drop-in sessions (Monday to Friday, 2pm-4pm; term-time only).

You will need to bring evidence of your diagnosis. This will need to be a full diagnostic assessment carried out after you were 16 years old by a psychologist with a practising certificate or a specialist teacher holding an assessment practicing certificate. If you have an assessment carried out before you were 16, you will be advised to have a top-up assessment.

What if I do not have recent evidence of my dyslexia or other SpLD?

We have a dyslexia and dyspraxia screening and assessment service for students who have not been assessed before, and we provide ‘top-up’ assessments for students whose previous assessments are out of date. We also do short assessments to establish examination arrangements.

Screening for Dyslexia – If you have never had an assessment and think you might be dyslexic, we first ask you to complete a short questionnaire. If your answers do not strongly indicate that you are not dyslexic, we will invite you for a further screening appointment. At the screening appointment, a detailed history will be taken. This will cover your early development, language experience, education and current difficulties. You will also be asked to complete a spelling test and a piece of free writing. If appropriate, you may then be offered a full assessment. If the assessor concludes that an assessment for dyslexia is not indicated, you will have the opportunity to discuss your concerns and will be given advice as to how you might address your difficulties.

Screening for Dyspraxia – If your difficulties relate primarily to motor coordination (including handwriting difficulties), spatial awareness and organisational skills, screening for dyspraxia is available. This involves completing a detailed questionnaire with the help of a parent or someone that knew you as an infant and child. If there are indications that you have dyspraxia, a full assessment will be arranged. Many full assessments include tests for both dyslexia and dyspraxia.

Top-up assessments – You may have been assessed and diagnosed as dyslexic and/or dyspraxic before coming to UCL. If your assessment took place before you were 16, you will need an additional assessment to support your application for DSAs. Please bring a copy of your previous report to Student Disability Services so that one of the assessors can determine whether you need a top-up assessment. If so, an appointment will be made for you.

Top-up assessments last up to two hours and will include tests of reading, writing and cognitive processing. However, if the results of an IQ test have been reported in your previous report, this part of the assessment will be omitted.

Full diagnostic assessment for dyslexia and/or dyspraxia – Diagnostic assessment sessions take approximately two hours in addition to the screening session. In order to meet the criteria for diagnosis, a range of tests is administered to assess various aspects of cognitive processing, visuo-motor skills, literacy skills and underlying verbal and non-verbal ability.

At the end of the assessment, you will have the opportunity to discuss the outcomes with your assessor. If you have been found to be dyslexic or dyspraxic, you will able to discuss support (such as tuition in study skills) and you will be given a booklet with answers to FAQs. You will be asked if you are happy for us to share (very limited) information about your assessment with your course tutor or administrator on a ‘need to know’ basis. The assessors will arrange for you to have extended borrowing time from the library and will give you stickers to attach to your course work to alert markers that you are dyslexic. The sticker refers your markers to the UCL guidance for assessing the work of students with specific learning difficulties. [link to guidance]

Assessment reports – Your assessor will write a full diagnostic assessment report (or a top-up report, including a summary of your previous report). You will collect your report from Student Disability Services within two weeks of your assessment. If you are applying for DSAs, you will send a copy of the report as evidence to support your application. You will be notified (by email) by your assessor when your report is ready for collection.

Examination arrangements

Your examination arrangements (e.g., extra time) will be based on your performance at assessment, and your assessor will make the necessary arrangements with the Examination Section.

Assessments for special examination arrangements – Even if you come to UCL with an up-to date diagnostic assessment report, you will still need to make an appointment with one of the assessors for a short session to establish your examination arrangements (e.g., extra time; use of a computer).

At UCL, the amount of extra time granted relates to the severity of the current effects of your dyslexia on the speed and accuracy of your reading and writing. The exam arrangements assessment takes about one hour and generates eight measures of performance (four relate to reading and four to writing). The amount of extra time granted ranges from five to twenty minutes per hour – and may differ from the provision you may have received previously. If you have handwriting difficulties, measures of proficiency in typing are also taken and, if appropriate, you may be granted permission to use a PC in exams. After the short assessment you will have the opportunity to discuss your wider support needs (such as tuition in study skills). Extended library borrowing time will be arranged and you will be given stickers to attach to your course work to alert markers that you are dyslexic. The stickers refer your markers to the UCL guidance for assessing the work of students with specific learning difficulties [link to guidance]. Your assessor will liaise with the Examination Section regarding your exam arrangements and you will be asked if you agree for us to inform your course administrator about the outcome of the assessment.