Specific Learning Difficulties and Neurodiversity
Neurodiversity encompasses differences in how brains function. It was originally used to describe people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, it is now used to include the differences in brain processing in people with conditions like ADHD or dyslexia.
Specific learning difficulties are neurological differences that can have a significant impact during education, in the workplace and in everyday life. As each person is unique, so is everyone's experience of SpLDs.
SpLDs include dyslexia, dyspraxia/DCD, dyscalculia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or any combination of these specific learning difficulties.
ADHD has features relating to both mental health and specific learning difficulties. It frequently results in learning challenges for the individuals concerned, with a measurable impact on educational and occupational outcomes.
If you have or think you might have a neuro-diverse condition, such as a Social Communication difficulty, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder, the Disability and Inclusion Services can help you to adjust to university life both academically and socially.
Social Communication Difficulties and those relating to neurological differences and the autism spectrum are very diverse in the way they present and no two individuals are the same. We tailor our support to you, so book an appointment to discuss your specific needs, in confidence.
We will work with you to understand how your studies are affected and how we can support you as a learner. We can provide support for lectures and seminars, assignments and exams, including:
- adjustments for group work
- extra time to complete assignments
You will need to have a registration appointment with an Advisor from the Disability and Inclusion Services (link booking appointment section)
Bring your evidence with you to the registration appointment.
Please refer to information provided by the British Dyslexia association.
The university can offer initial screenings for dyslexia and dyspraxia. If the scores from the screening indicate a probability of dyslexia or dyspraxia you may be invited to attend a full diagnostic assessment. There are exceptions to this referral process, for example, if you are near the end of your course or on a short course.
Our registration appointments last about an hour and we use any assessment recommendations to set up your ‘reasonable adjustments’.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) defines ‘reasonable adjustments’ as:
“Reasonable is what most people would agree is fair and sensible, when they think carefully about it. Adjustment means you are changing something”.
‘Reasonable adjustments’ are about responding sensitively to individual cases by taking account of the circumstances without necessarily setting precedents.
Examples of reasonable adjustments might include:
- Reasonable adjustments for examinations and TCAs (time-controlled assignments)
extended library loans
- stickers for assignments and examinations so they are marked in accordance with university marking guidelines
- disclosure to your Faculty
- Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) – we will advise and help you apply for these allowances which may be used to pay for equipment and individual sessions with specialist tutors or mentors.
Additional adjustments may be possible regarding access on campus, interviews, student accommodation, parking and hearing support systems. More about these can be found on our Accessibility & Adjustments webpage.