Thanks to dyslexia my life is better than yours
I ticked a box and now I’m cruising through uni
I was always worried that university wasn’t for me. Unable to spell or read effectively, I struggled through school. A life of heavy workloads, countless essays and painstaking exams was a seriously daunting thought. Even worse was the thought of watching everyone else flourish around me.
But, I was wrong. I’m dyslexic, I go university – and I’ve got it easier than you.
Being a dyslexic student meant that when I started university I was showered with free, and at times unnecessary, equipment and support. And call me materialistic, but the laptop, printer and scanner I’ve been gifted has made my academic life a easy while keeping my bank balance just about positive. I can’t help but feel content with myself when my friends whinge about their ancient laptops, excessive printing costs, and having to race to library to print before an essay deadline.
And it’s all because I ticked a box. When applying through UCAS, at the point when you are asked whether you have a disability, those with dyslexia are encouraged to fill this section in. Your university then become aware of your “disability”.
From this point on, like the unbearably-accommodating Grandma you haven’t seen in years, your university bends all sorts of rules to ensure you’re comfortable. You might even begin to feel like you’ve gained a patronising baby-sitter who’s constantly trying to help you “fit in”, but hey, why not make the most of the treats on offer?
Having ticked that box I am sat in air conditioned room with a comfortable chair and enough time to write an exams twice over while ‘normal’ students are sat in a sweaty, overcrowded hall, constantly looking up at the clock while their fingers burn.
And it’s not only the university who want to mother me – the DSA also feel sorry for me too. The disabled student allowance (or DSA) entitles me to free equipment, such as a laptop, printer, scanner, ink costs – the list goes on. This is, of course, to ensure that I am not at a disadvantage with my studies while at university compared with the so called more abled.
So while you’re saving up for a new laptop this summer, my money will be going to on a holiday to Portugal.
But don’t think it’s just me making the most of a very valid system here. Remi Gianquitto, a second year psychology at Nottingham, told me her experience of the support she has received for being dyslexic while at university. “In the early stages they even offered me an iPod to help with my studies?!”
Those of you without dyslexia might agree with Charlie Shephard, a 2nd year building surveying student at Coventry. “When I was told about the support dyslexic students get I was taken back abit. I mean, if they really want to make it a level playing field for everyone at university then surely everyone should get support to make them fit in, regardless!”
But I am simply sticking to the guidelines and embracing all the opportunities of support aimed at people with dyslexia. And it will increase my chance of success.
If you really are that envious or frustrated by the system then why not see if you are dyslexic yourself? To check it requires an investment of your own. A £250+ test is required to prove whether you are eligible or not, but don’t think you can simply walk into the test, spell a few words wrong, write extremely slowly and then pass – it’s pretty complex. It will, however, be the only exam you are delighted to fail.