Written by PGPR admin assistant Layla
Did you know that around five per cent of university students in the UK are dyslexic?
Dyslexic students can struggle with things other students may take for granted, such as understanding textbook materials, spelling and grammar, note-taking, and organising and expressing their ideas on paper.
Undertaking a PhD is a big commitment and a lot of work. If you’re a PhD student with dyslexia, this can make things all the more difficult.
However, with the right support in place, it can also be a rewarding experience that not only looks great on your CV but can enhance your future career prospects.
Here are three challenges that PhD students with dyslexia might face and ways that PGPR can help:
- Spelling and grammar
The standard of writing expected from a PhD is high. If you are a dyslexic student, you might find negative comments or feedback in this area demotivating, especially when you have spent hours diligently checking your finished paper. Text-to-speech software and grammar checkers can be useful for common spelling and grammatical errors, but quite often they miss details that can only be spotted by an eagle-eyed professional proof-reader.
Our basic proof-reading service is designed to spot those typos and punctuation errors, checking each line, suggesting alternative word choices and highlighting areas of text that are difficult to understand. You get two copies of your work back – one clean edit and one tracked, so you can easily and quickly spot what changes have been made.
- Organising your ideas
Being able to manage your time effectively whilst working on a PhD is essential. Many dyslexic students can find it difficult to organise their thoughts on paper or find they need to spend longer re-reading academic texts to ensure they fully understand what is being discussed.
It is easy to become overwhelmed with the workload involved in a PhD even with additional support from your university. PGPR’s feedback service can help you to successfully organise your ideas so they are the best they can be.
One of the team will go through your work and provide expert advice and feedback to help improve your structure, methodology, findings and discussion sections. We also offer a service that combines basic proof-reading with feedback for students who feel their English or academic writing skills could use an extra boost.
- Lack of visible support
Students with dyslexia often comment on how their experiences of studying at a post-grad level are vastly different from an undergraduate degree.
Universities often have a good support system in place for undergraduates, such as extra time for exams or a project deadline, trained on-site support staff and specialist equipment to help dyslexic students. Embarking on a PhD, however, means a lot of working on your own, and getting extra time to plan or write your thesis can be difficult.
If you feel that you need more support, consider discussing this with your supervisor. Many supervisors will be able to work with you on a plan to guide you through your PhD. Others may be dyslexic themselves or have previously worked with dyslexic students.
You may also benefit from PGPR’s popular one-to-one Skype sessions, which are designed to allow you to discuss your work with one of our experts. These one-off or regular sessions provide support, guidance and deeper insight into your work and can help assuage any worries or fears you may be experiencing.
Get in touch with The Post-Graduate Proof-Reader
The team at PGPR offer a wide range of services designed to help you achieve your personal best. Whether you need your lecture notes transcribed into a clear and readable format in a dyslexia-friendly font, or a dry-run of your ground-breaking presentation via Skype to help you practise speaking in public, we are here to help.
Still not sure if we can help you? Get in touch and let us know the details, and we will do our best to support you in your studies.