Learning Support Centre PhD student testimonial

I was diagnosed with Dyslexia three years ago, after always struggling to read and write like everybody else at school, college and university.

Despite these struggles and always putting in far more time than anyone else, I successfully completed my undergraduate degree in Health Studies and a Master’s degree in Health and Community Development.

Then, four years ago, I decided I wanted to start a PhD. Within a few months of starting, the same problems of reading and writing started all over again. Eventually a year in, after lots of support from my family and friends, I plucked up the courage to go ahead with a diagnostic assessment.

I then found out I have Dyslexia, after the diagnosis I learned a lot about myself. In particular that I struggle with two things: decoding data which means my reading speed, and how that information is processed into my brain, is much slower than other people. Also when I try to express myself academically on paper, I struggle, yet if I was to verbally explain myself, I would be absolutely fine. After the diagnosis I learned that I have a preferred learning style that is different to others, I am a visual person, I respond better to sights, sounds, heard and spoken words.

I have been able to get some invaluable support towards my PhD from the Learning Support Centre, the support has been in the following ways:

1) Once a week my Study Skills tutor and I meet. She has helped me to recognise what I could do as self-help strategies when reading and writing. These strategies went a long way with the 20,000 words literature review I conducted and when I was writing my research proposal of 17,000 words

2) I also had some very prompt and high quality support with the transcription of my interviews for the PhD. Once again, due to my learning style, typing a word for word interview would have taken me a lot longer than someone who did not have an SpLD. The Learning Support Centre was able to help get the transcriptions ready quickly, so that I could start to analyse the data.

I am grateful for the professional, friendly and helpful support the Learning Support Centre has provided me with. I am now in my 4th year, and I am confident that I will complete this doctorate within the next 2 years.

Part time PhD student at DMU