Hi, I’m Betony, a first year Speech and Language Therapy student and I am dyslexic. I’m going to write a bit about the funded support that I receive. I am applied for the Disabled Student’s Allowance at the same time I applied for my student finance. You have to provide evidence and have meetings to work out what kind of funding you are entitled to. The Student Support team at Marjon are there to help you. This is all worked out based on your individual needs, not on your income like student finance is. I get 1:1 support from a study skills tutor, I have been allotted enough time to have a meeting every week of term. But it’s not compulsory to attend and I like to book my sessions on a week-by-week basis.
I was diagnosed with dyslexia in college when I really began to struggle to keep up with my lessons. Being dyslexic for me means: my spelling isn’t the best, I don’t write or read particularly fast, I have difficulties with light sensitivity, I have a horrendous memory, I’m easily distracted – by anything. I regularly misread words and numbers, I struggle to stay organised and manage my own time. I sometimes I can’t keep up with my note taking. So after every lecture I go home and proof-read, spell check and fill in any gaps in my notes. I also print them off and organise them into module folders to help me stay organised.
While at college I was offered a two-hour session every week to work on maths only. I found this time to be too long and there was not room for the session to take place somewhere private. Now at Marjon I have a set number of hours I can use during the course of the year. I can book them in when I need them, the flexibility is so much better as I can work these sessions around my assignments.
So, what do I do in my sessions?
Whatever I want. Normally I go to my tutor with an assignment that I am working on and we look through it together. He reads my work aloud to me which really helps to identify where it doesn’t make sense or sentences that aren’t saying what I want them to say. My tutor also helps me with planning my essays, breaking down the titles and getting my initial thoughts down on paper so I know where the starting point is. Sometimes, we don’t do work, sometimes we just chat, and I really value having the time to talk to someone who has an outside perspective on things that are going on.
Isn’t it weird, being in a room with one person for an hour?
Maybe initially, it’s a bit weird but the tutors are really good at putting you at ease. I get on really well with my tutor, so the time passes really quickly. They also offer virtual meetings – which is how all our meetings are at the moment (because of the lockdown). But if you find you don’t feel comfortable with your study skills tutor you can request a change, my friend did and now she is much happier. And don’t worry the tutors don’t take offence, you need to find someone you are comfortable with!
After the Christmas break, all the modules changed and so did the lecture rooms we were in. We were moved to a different room for most of our lectures, the lights in this room gave me a headache. For a few weeks, I put up with it, wearing a baseball cap and glasses however, this still didn’t help. First, I spoke to my Study Skills Tutor who advised I had a meeting with my Personal Development Tutor (PDT). I spoke to my PDT but didn’t feel like I had got my message across very well, so I went back to my Study Skills Tutor who contacted the Disability & Inclusion team who immediately wanted to help. They took what I had said and went about trying to find a better room. In the end, we didn’t need to change rooms because we are now all working for home.
So, what do I have to say overall about study support at Marjon?
There is support for everyone. Not just people like me who qualify who additional support. Everyone can access support on-site. Whether you go to your Personal Development Tutor or drop into the Chaplaincy for a chat. My advice: don’t struggle with something, ask for help, there are plenty of people around to help you with everything.