Dyslexia and me – Becki Adams (Student Services)

Graphic image, background is blue: 'Invisible Dyslexia'

I found out I had Dyslexia whilst at university, and I am writing this because I think it might help you. This week is Dyslexia Awareness Week, please take a look at the resources at the end of this blog, and information on support within the University of Reading.

Hey, I am Becki and I work in Student Services at the University of Reading. As a child at school, I struggled with reading and writing, and I found it hard to understand why. I questioned myself and lost a lot of confidence because I compared myself to others who seemed to excel. It was only through going to university that someone pointed out to me that I might have dyslexia, and maybe I should go and have an assessment. Hearing these words gave me the confidence and ownership to go find out more, but this was only the tip of the iceberg, I have since spent a lot of time learning and finding out what it means to be dyslexic and how I can use it to my advantage.

research has found that the same brain differences that cause dyslexia and autism can lead to more creativity and artistic skills, and an ability to visualise things in a different way.” – I’m just wired differently’: Why advertising seems to have so many people with dyslexia

It all started by visiting the University’s Disability Advisory Team who told me about Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and what an assessment actually was. I booked in and spent 30mins -1hr being assessed through a simple questionnaire before receiving the assessment results and finding out that I was dyslexic.

It’s estimated up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK has some degree of dyslexia. – NHS

For me, this news was a revelation, a relief and allowed me to understand why I struggled at school. Not only that but it allowed me to have more time in assessments and extra help, which I would have never have asked for otherwise. It gave me a reason to have the help I needed, but it also came with a lot of stigma, something that now I don’t feel, but back then I did feel embarrassed to talk to others about it for fear of being judged.

Luckily now there is so much more support around all learning difficulties and is why weeks like Dyslexia Awareness Week are so important. I now work in a communications role and embrace and celebrate my dyslexia every day. Here’s why:

  • I think about things differently – in more of a creative way.
  • I have realised that you don’t need to be able to write in a complicated and academic style to communicate effectively, it is often much better to simplify your language so everybody understands it. (Did you know the average reading age in the UK is 9 years old!).
  • Because of my struggles, I am very passionate, driven and want to succeed no matter what the obstacles are.
  • Thinking outside of the box, coming up with ideas and thinking about things a bit differently.
  • I own my dyslexia and see it as a skill, it allows me to bring creativity into whatever I do.
  • I enjoy meeting and teaching other people about dyslexia, helping them learn and succeed.

My toolkit, which I use every day when writing:

  1. Write, take a break, re-read (next day if possible).
  2. Plan ahead so you can give yourself time to take in information and write at your own pace.
  3. Use Grammarly to check for mistakes.
  4. Ask someone to read through and check for mistakes.  
  5. Written work doesn’t need to be full of jargon or complicated words and sentences, keep it simple and to the point, it will be easier for you to write and easier for the reader to read.
  6. Use the MS Word ‘read-aloud function’ (I find it easier to hear mistakes than to read them).

There are so many benefits to being dyslexic, but everyone is on their own journey and finding their own feet with having a learning difficulty. If you want to learn more there are loads of great blogs, resources and support – including support from the Disability Advisory Service (DAS) within the University of Reading for getting an assessment yourself.

Next steps

Visit the Specific learning difficulties page on Essentials.

Register with DAS:

Students can register with DAS by completing an online form and uploading medical evidence:

  1. Log on to the RISIS Portal with University username and password
  2. Click ‘What to do next’ (on right-hand side of the page)
  3. Click ‘Register with the Disability Advisory Service’

Once you have completed registration you will be offered an appointment with a disability advisor to discuss support. Any adjustments will be based on your needs. For instance, this may be arranging for food, drink and medication to be allowed in the exam as well as time to break for this if needed.


Get in contact with the UoR Disability Advisory Service:

Please see the ‘Support for Disabled Students’ guide and the  ‘Guide to SpLD’ for information on support

Disabled Students Allowance

We would recommend you consider applying for the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) through Student Finance England and check the eligibility pages for DSA.


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