According to the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) dyslexia is thought to affect around 10% of the population, with 4% affected severely.
What is dyslexia?
Usually running in families, dyslexia is a neurological rather than psychological condition. Dyslexia can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling and it can have a significant impact on education and learning.
If you have dyslexia you may mix up letters within words, and words within sentences when you read. You may find it difficult to spell words correctly and you may place certain letters the wrong way around.
It can have an impact on you in other ways too, as dyslexia affects the way information is processed, stored and retrieved. So you may also have difficulties with things such as telling your left from your right, time perception and memory problems.
Support for ACA students
If you're an ACA student and you have dyslexia, you may qualify for extra support. This includes access arrangements while sitting exams, with common arrangements including the following:
- Using a computer during a paper-based exam
- Having rest breaks
- Having extra time to complete your exams
- Using a scribe (writer) or someone to read to you
- Having your exams in large print
To qualify for this support you must have a full adult diagnostic assessment that's less than five years old. That means if you haven't been assessed since you were a child, the assessment won't be accepted and you'll need a new one. The new assessment must comply with a number of requirements. Find out more by reading the ICAEW's access arrangement guidance.
The bad news is diagnostic assessments are expensive. Currently, those offered by the BDA cost £450 plus VAT with a specialist dyslexia teacher and £600 plus VAT with an educational psychologist.
How CABA can help
Here at CABA we can help you to finance a new means tested diagnostic assessment if you're an ACA student.
If your child has dyslexia, help is available from your child's school, as schools are now required to provide appropriate support to allow all children to benefit from their education.
The signs usually show up in children when they start learning how to read and write at school. But it's not just a childhood problem. Dyslexia is a lifelong condition, which means it affects many college and university students too.
What should you look out for?
There are many signs and symptoms of dyslexia, and they can differ widely from one person with the condition to another.
Some children may display symptoms before they start school, such as speech problems - jumbling up words, for instance - or delayed speech development. The symptoms tend to become more obvious when children are at school. They may read and write very slowly, have difficulties with spelling and while they may be able to answer questions verbally, they may struggle when it comes to writing answers down.
Teenagers and adults may experience all of these symptoms as well as things such as:
- Finding it difficult to revise for exams
- Poor organisation with written work such as essays or reports
- Avoiding reading and writing whenever possible
- Being unable to remember a sequence of numbers (such as telephone numbers or PIN numbers)
How to get help
Support is available to those with dyslexia to improve their literacy skills so that they can be successful at school, at college or university and at work.
Parents who suspect their child may be dyslexic can find out what help is available at their school by speaking to the school's special needs co-ordinator. They may be able to offer support to help your child if they think it's necessary. The BDA website also has more information about getting help for your child.
If, despite having help from their school, your child continues to have problems with learning, you may want to consider having them assessed by a professional such as a specialist dyslexia teacher or educational psychologist.
Diagnostic assessments are the only way to understand if someone is dyslexic, as well as to find out where their particular strengths and weaknesses lie. But such assessments aren't funded by the NHS, which means you'll have to pay for one privately.
You can arrange for a diagnostic assessment via the BDA, which offers assessments conducted by specialist teachers or assessors and psychologists registered with the Health and Care Professional Council.
In some cases, CABA may be able to provide means tested financial assistance, for those who are unable to fund a diagnostic assessment.
Further information about dyslexia can be found on the British Dyslexia Association website.