Post 16 Dyslexia assessment for DSA

(14 Posts)
Eve Tue 02-May-17 09:44:24


has anyone had this done?

Before I fork out £500+ to have this assessment carried out, what are the chances of DS receiving the DSA... what are the criteria they use to award DSA?

DS s very dyslexic , we had an professional assessed very young and his scores were in the bottom 5% ( or top depending on which way you look at it) for severity. He has had extra time and a scribe for every exam since,

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Needmoresleep Tue 02-May-17 10:06:05

We are on the same journey. Luckily DD had it done soon after she turned 16, so we don't need to do it again.

Our assumption is that it is not about the money, but a way to flag her issues to the University. We assume that she would not have been accepted if the University thought she would struggle, but we still want the University to be aware of, and have evidence of, her processing issues, so that she can access early support if she hits problems.

Next weeks task for us is to try to figure out the various forms she needs to complete. Not easy, and not something dyslexics tend to be good at!

LIZS Tue 02-May-17 10:08:09

If he needs exam access arrangements it is worth doing. DSA isn't necessarily financial, it can provide equipment (ds has recording software and microphone for lectures) and one to one support, according to the assessed needs. We paid £300 for a report then he had a meeting with someone form an agency at uni to match the needs with relevant support.

LIZS Tue 02-May-17 10:09:32

And yes all his essays and submissions are flagged up for the marker.

Eve Tue 02-May-17 10:12:00

thanks Needs... the Uni he's firmed have pretty good support in place and we are already in contact with the support teams and they have his early assessment and exam support assessments... just seems a lot of money to spend to tell us what we already know.

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LIZS Tue 02-May-17 10:17:35

If you are already in discussion with the uni they may have someone who can do the assessment when he gets there or beforehand.

Eve Tue 02-May-17 10:28:19

Lizs the uni have said they have a 6 month waiting list to do the assessments :-( so they recommend having them done privately.

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welshgirlwannabe Tue 02-May-17 10:38:22

Most severely dyslexic learners I've worked with are awarded some element of DSA. Often it's the non medical helper that is most useful - a note taker, mentor or study skills tutor etc. A lot of the other support, such as specialist software, is no longer offered as part of a funded package. So for me it would depend on how much 1-1 support the university would offer as opposed to how much the DSA would fund. Also that his previous assessment would be enough for exam access arrangements. If not you will probably need to go for it.

I would talk to the university's disability advisor before paying out of pocket.

whatwouldrondo Tue 02-May-17 15:22:34

It was certainly worth it for my DD three years ago, it wasn't so much that they paid for the equipment (they did say that was unlikely to continue much longer and it sounds as though it has ended) as that the assessor was extremely knowledgable about what would help, both in terms of equipment and coping strategies. Things like software that scans text in for use in quotations. She is studying English. It was the first time she had actually encountered someone who actually knew their stuff. School were well intentioned and knew their way around the bureaucracy of extra time etc but had never thought to help her with software etc. She fairly quickly weaned herself off the mentoring sessions but the equipment is really valuable to her and once we realised it existed we would have found some way to pay if DSA had not. Her essays are flagged and she is not marked down for spelling or syntax. The session she had with the assessor really built her confidence that she could do this (and she has, just the dissertation left to do, her last examined module was last year)

She scores at the 9th percentile (bottom 9%) for processing, working memory and speed of writing

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 02-May-17 17:00:52

I had DSA myself ten years ago (IIRC I was about the 3rd centile for processing or working memory, I forget which, but low enough to qualify easily). Since then I have taught a lot of dyslexic students, both those diagnosed at university and those who come up with diagnoses.

A 6 month wait feels like a lot. Better to go up with an assessment in hand. DSA really does make a difference, but IMO what is better is having everyone know that you have a known problem.

Whatever happens, make sure DS is prepared to talk to all his supervisors about dyslexia. In most universities, this should be done for him - either through the disability resource centre or through a personal tutor. But IME even really good systems fail, and it's always worth sending each new supervisor an email explaining the situation. You could probably draft this with him if it's something he finds hard. Just something like

'Dear Dr So-and-so, I wanted to let you know I have been diagnosed as dyslexic, in case you've not been told, and usually use some coping strategies. I have a scribe/use notetaking software/whatever.'

Depending on your DS, he might also want to say what's helpful for the supervisor to do. Obviously this is a bit delicate as some supervisors might feel they were being told how to do their jobs (they shouldn't, really), but if it's something a little unusual, it's worth raising. And with luck, that introductory email will prompt a good supervisor to ask if they can do anything to help, anyway (especially if signed off with a nice 'I'm looking forward to meeting you ...' type bit, which loads of students forget to do!).

That's a bit of a digression from the actual assessment, I know, but IME the assessment is only useful if everyone teaching 1) knows you have it and 2) knows what its recommendations mean! And university teachers mostly aren't trained in reading a report, so may not automatically know how best to teach a dyslexic.

BasiliskStare Tue 02-May-17 17:17:14

DS is dyslexic - some years ago he needed to get a post GCSE diagnosis for extra time / use of laptop etc - so no actual money but it was required for the different exam / way of working things he needed. I would do it if I were you. It worked for Ds. DSA is not just about money - it as also about using the ways of working and so forth . I know you know this. We did a private Ed Psych report - the university reimbursed it once he got his grades - perhaps worth phoning ?

whatwouldrondo Tue 02-May-17 18:47:53

DD did get a funny email from one of her tutors saying words to the effect. I have had a letter from Learnings Support to advise me about your Dyslexia. The letter manifests the they are anxious to save you from your many challenges but I can't say that you appear to be in any need of being saved. However do please come and talk if there are any problems or you need help.

Eve Tue 02-May-17 19:41:31

Thanks for all the comments, I think it's worth the outlay to get the support in place for him from the beginning.

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LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 02-May-17 20:21:29

Oh dear, what. That was probably meant to be supportive but frankly it's a bit clueless!

I had a postgrad student whose undergrad experience of dyslexia had been a constant series of people saying 'oh, you're not really dyslexic are you? Your spelling is fine!' and expecting her to be flattered, rather than annoyed they were minimizing her very real difficulties.

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