Celebrating neurodiversity at RGU: My journey with dyslexia

RGU installed 25 multi-coloured umbrellas on campus as part of a project ran by Aberdeen Inspired in partnership with the ADHD Foundation to raise awareness of the “umbrella” term of neurodiversity. To celebrate inclusivity at RGU, we spoke to Hannah, an alumna who was diagnosed with dyslexia after reaching out for support at the university. Learn more about her journey in this blog.

Can you tell us more about your experience with dyslexia before coming to RGU?

I started to realise in secondary school that I might have dyslexia. The realisation came after doing some research on the subject but also from having a friend who was dyslexic.

At that time, I noticed that I worked differently to my peers. It’s not that I couldn’t do the work that I was given, but I was working in a different way. I also noticed things that my friend with dyslexia was doing, which I was also doing. All of these things raised questions for me as to whether or not I could be dyslexic.

Unfortunately, It wasn’t something that was picked up in secondary school, so I never received support. Despite this, I still managed to get into university!

What kind of support did you receive at RGU before and after your diagnosis?

When I came to university and had to do independent study, I saw how my peers worked differently. It made me realise I should visit the Inclusion Centre at RGU.

At the Inclusion Centre, I got screened for dyslexia and was referred to the educational psychologist. The educational psychologist did a variety of assessments and tests. That’s when I was diagnosed with dyslexia. After the diagnosis, I was able to learn a lot more about dyslexia and also received support from the university. All the support I received, including exam arrangements, was really helpful.  

What message do you have for those with learning difference?

If you have an inkling that you might have any form of learning difference, just reach out. If you’re like me and you haven’t been diagnosed in school, come to the Inclusion Centre. Reaching out to the centre made my time at university a lot better because I had the right tools and support in place. You can go at any point during your studies, but it’s always best to get the support as soon as you can.  

What do you think of the umbrella installations at RGU?

I think it’s a great initiative. And they are installed right next to the Inclusion Centre, which is going to bring more awareness of its services. Because RGU really is an inclusive university, it’s good to highlight it in this way. It will show students that the centre is here and open to support anyone who comes.

Hannah


About support at the Inclusion Centre

The inclusion coordinators are the first point of contact for students visiting the Inclusion Centre as part of their initial appointment and for applicants who have disclosed an impairment or specific learning difference. 

Students can come to the Inclusion Centre for a variety of different reasons. They will look at any form of learning difference, health condition (including mental health) or sensory impairment and look at how best they can support. This could be referring them to the appropriate services. For example, students might need to be referred to an educational psychologist, as Hannah was. If a student has an existing diagnosis, they simply require a form of evidence and then they can book an assessment of needs. This assessment will determine the kind of support that they might benefit from, which can be technology, equipment or one-to-one support such as proof-reading or mentoring.

The centre works with the student to establish an Inclusion plan, which is shared with the student’s school. That plan details teaching and learning recommendations as well as any exam arrangements needed. If a student has already received support in secondary school, the centre would continue that support and look at what additional support might be helpful. They will also liaise with other departments if a student needs adaptations to accommodation or teaching spaces.  Finally, reviews with students are organised every year to make sure everything is going well.


Find out more about the umbrella project on the Aberdeen Inspired website and look out for the other umbrella installations around Aberdeen City!

Related blogs

RGU Inclusion Mentoring Service

Digital Accessibility at RGU

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