Essays on Dyslexia / SpLDs in University

I recently completed the ADSHE Level 5 course on supporting learners in FE/HE with Dyslexia/SpLDs and have been working more and more in this area over the last few years. So I thought I would just collect the essays I wrote for this course, as well as a few other publications here.

"255/365: Dyslexia" by by Janine is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
“255/365: Dyslexia” by by Janine is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I’m not claiming that these are exceptionally good essays or anything (in fact I had to resubmit one of them). Hopefully it may help anyone else who is generally studying in this area – even if it’s just going through the bibliographies and stealing some decent references!

I’ve posted a short summary but you can download the full essays as Word documents also.

For my journal articles in this area you can also see:

2020, Book review of ‘How to take Smart Notes’, Journal of Neurodivergent Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (link) <- incidentally this is currently my most read document on ResearchGate, so it’s a popular topic I guess!

2019, Disabled Student’s Allowances: What is awarded and what is the impact?, Journal of Inclusive Practice in Further and Higher Education, (link)


Anyway- the essays:

Essay 1: “What do we mean by Specific Learning Differences? Critically examine the current research with particular reference to adults in post-16 education.” (Download essay with this link)

“From the origins of ‘word-blindness’ in the late 17th century, to the coining of the term Dyslexia in 1887, medical practitioners seeking to understand or alleviate disabilities or impairments have typically been central in the establishment of definitions and terminology. The chart below[1] helps further illustrate the prevalence of Dyslexia as a term, compared to other SpLDs”

[1] Google Ngram charts the frequencies of words used in over 5 million published books. The chart above shows from 1970 to 2008.


Essay 2: “Offer an overview of current equality legislation and the challenges this places on colleges and/or HEIs including the provision of services to meet the learning needs of their neuro-diverse students.” (Download essay with this link)

“This essay will begin with a brief outline of Special Educational Needs and pre-16 education. The second section will cover the Equality act and inclusive practice in a HE environment…The Warnock inquiry…remains the most comprehensive review of SEND to be commissioned by a UK government.” (Webster, 2018). The Warnock report (1978) popularised the term and concept of Special Educational Needs (SEN) alongside the later Education Act (1981). This took an all-encompassing approach, incorporating many children with SEN in mainstream education, whether diagnosed or not (Russel, 1985).”

“Rickinson establishes some of the challenges facing any discussion around disability in HE, noting that: “understandings of disability are far from static and the last decade has seen increasing recognition of the social model” (Rickinson, 2010, p. 2). Disability; as an “essentially contested definition” (ibid), combined with issues of data comparability and self-reporting bias means it is challenging to come to a universal view. Nevertheless, Rickinson points to various official sources of data to show that disabled people encounter barriers before, during and after HE”


Essay 3: “Choose two theories of adult learners and explain their relevance to SpLD learners in FE/HE” (Download essay with this link)

“Learning is an inherently complex process experienced by a wide range of individuals; we ought not therefore to expect one idea or theory to account for all that we understand by the term learning.” (Artess, 2003).

“Two key elements of this essay are introduced by this quote. Firstly, the infinitely diverse combination of individuals and contexts in which learning occurs. Secondly, the challenge for any single theory to encapsulate a total view of the process we call learning. It is no surprise that there is a long history of thought and many theories to potentially investigate. In the context of higher education, developing critical thinking has historically been identified as a key outcome for learners; although some argue this has come under increased pressure from marketization and employability (Davies & Barnett, 2015). Theories of learning are therefore not just for teachers, but learners themselves may be expected to be aware of and critically engage with their own learning processes, to a greater degree than in earlier stages of education.”


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