Office of the President and Provost (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion)


Dyslexia and other Specific Learning Differences

The content on this page is currently being updated.

Dyslexia is a hidden disability that affects around 10% of the population. Dyslexia, along with dyspraxia, dyscalculia and Attention Deficit Disorder are classed as Specific Learning Difficulties/differences (SpLDs). SpLDs are neurological rather than psychological, usually genetic and aren’t linked to intellectual ability.

Common difficulties relating to dyslexia include:

  • Memory problems
  • Processing speed
  • Time perception
  • Organisation/time management

It is important to remember that there are many strengths associated with dyslexia and these can include:

  • Creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Thinking ‘outside of the box’
  • Entrepreneurial skills
  • Verbal skills

Occupational Health and Wellbeing

Staff who think they may have dyslexia or other specific learning differences should only contact Occupational Health and Wellbeing if they are experiencing stress, issues with mental health and general wellbeing.

Workplace Needs Assessment

A workplace needs assessment is carried out by a specialist assessor who will focus on the specific challenges that an individual is having, in relation to their work tasks. A workplace needs assessment usually includes a visit to the workplace (currently taking place online), followed by a report with a recommendation for adjustments which they believe will help the member of staff cope more effectively. As part of the workplace needs assessment, a separate meeting with the line manager will also take place.

Diagnostic Assessment

A diagnostic assessment is the process of identifying any factors that might explain the inconsistencies reflected in an individual’s performance. This type of assessment is not specific to the workplace, but will touch on this.  A diagnostic assessment usually involves testing intellectual abilities and can sometimes be a stressful procedure for individuals.

In relation to staff cases, UCL has taken the position not to send staff for diagnostic assessments as a standard procedure. A flexible approach will be taken, however, a workplace needs assessment will be most beneficial for the member of staff in relation to their work tasks. Contact the EDI team if you would like to discuss this further/you think a diagnostic assessment may be required.

TextHelp Read and Write

This is a text-to-speech package, designed to help you proof and correct your work. It is available on both the Student Desktop@UCL and Desktop Anywhere@UCL.

Staff can obtain a copy for work PCs from the Disability IT Support Analyst as well as training on how to use the software. The Disability IT Support Analysts can also show you how to use other equipment/software, including screen overlays and Dragon software, so that you can see what will be most suitable for your needs.

What to do if you think you or a member of your staff has dyslexia

The Adult Dyslexia Checklist contains questions that are predictive of dyslexia. Dependant on your score, follow the procedures outlined in the following flowcharts:

File Specific Learning Differences - Adjustments for Managers to Consider

Contact us

Sonal Bharadva has over 10 year's experience in supporting Disabled staff and managers with reasonable adjustments. She is an accredited dyslexia champion at UCL and can provide informal support and advice to staff and managers. She has completed various training on neuro-inclusive practice, and supporting Neurodivergent staff in the workplace. Sonal is the lead contact for workplace needs assessments for Neurodivergent staff at UCL.

Lizzy Allman is UCL's EDI Manager and leads on disability equality. She has worked in EDI and higher education for many years and has attended numerous training courses and conferences on best practice around disability equality, neurodiversity in the workplace, as well as reasonable adjustments and UK law. She has lived experience of disability, both visible and invisible, and regularly supports Disabled and Neurodivergent staff, line managers and HR around complex reasonable adjustments in the workplace.

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