Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that affects memory and processing speed which can have an impact on literacy development, mathematics, memory, organisation and sequencing skills to varying degrees. It may be associated with other learning or information processing difficulties.
The prevalence of dyslexia is unknown and estimates vary. It is thought up to 10% of doctors in postgraduate training have dyslexia. Doctors in postgraduate training with dyslexia may experience difficulties in completing tasks on time, especially those involving reading and writing under time pressure. A weakness in spelling, formulating written expression and processing print may affect performance.
Dyslexia often overlaps with other neurodiversities such as dyspraxia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD). A diagnosis of dyslexia is not an indication of clinical incompetence or lack of knowledge; very bright and highly competent healthcare professionals can struggle with passing postgraduate exams due to previously undiagnosed dyslexia.
The London and Kent, Surrey and Sussex PSU offer dyslexia assessment and up to four session with a specialist dyslexia coach to all trainees working in the area. See below for further details.
UPDATE - AUG 2022: Please note we are experiencing very high demand for our dyslexia assessment service. This has resulted in longer than desired lead times and so we are unlikely to be able to offer appointments in September, other than in exceptional circumstances. We are working to build additional capacity into our service which will go live from 1st October 2022. Trainees requiring an assessment are asked to continue with completing Form A as standard, with their supervisor/TPD completing form B. The PSU will record all applications and make contact with applicants in late September/early October with further information.
The purpose of an assessment is to help you discover whether you have dyslexia or other learning difficulty which might have an impact on your work or studies. If you are found to have dyslexia, it will then be possible to explore reasonable adjustments which may help improve your performance. These might include adjustments in your workplace, to your day to day working arrangements and during professional exams or assessments. You will also be able to access specialised dyslexia coaching through the PSU to help you with revision, studies and managing certain aspects of day to day work which may be affected by your dyslexia.
It is helpful that you discuss any problems that you have been experiencing during your training with your educational or clinical supervisor. The responsibility for implementing any suggested adjustments lies with your employer and you will also need to engage with your local Occupational Health service if you are diagnosed with dyslexia. On moving placement it will your responsibility to communicate the report findings to your new employer.
If you are in postgraduate medical education in London & the South East and have not previously had a full assessment for dyslexia you may be eligible for a free assessment via the PSU. This is a multi-stage process as follows:
Stage 1 Complete the British Dyslexia Association adult screening checklist
Stage 2 Complete our Dyslexia application form (Form A)
Stage 4 Once both forms have been submitted, the Individual Support Team (IST) will process them to determine if you may benefit from an assessment. If approved, the IST will pass your contact details, and your completed forms A&B, to Independent Dyslexia Services ( IDS) who will arrange a formal dyslexia assessment appointment with you. Demand for assessments is high and we will endeavour to book this with you at the earliest available opportunity.
Stage 5 Attend an appointment with an educational psychologist at IDS for your formal assessment. You will then receive a detailed written report plus recommendations following this assessment. If your assessment confirms that you have dyslexia, we would also advise that you share a copy of the educational psychologist's report with your Trust’s Occupational Health department and meet with your supervisor to share the report and discuss the implications of any recommendations for your work and training.
Stage 6 After your assessment, you will be able to access up to 4 free specialist dyslexia coaching sessions to help you with revision, studies and managing certain aspects of day to day work which may be affected by your dyslexia.
For more information go to:
- TES Dyslexia Mind Map
- British Dyslexia Association
- PSU Fit for Work Guidance
- Click the image below for more information on 'Understanding Dyslexia', produced by Professor David McLoughlin of Independent Dyslexia Consultants (IDC)
If you have any questions about this process or are still unsure of what to do please contact the Individual Support Team (IST) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org