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. For instance, it is thought up to 10% of doctors in postgraduate training have dyslexia. Doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals 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). Identification 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 unidentified dyslexia.
The London and Kent, Surrey and Sussex PSU can offers dyslexia assessments to postgraduate healthcare professionals who meet the PSU's eligibility criteria and the dyslexia screening requirements. We can also offer up to four sessions of individual coaching with a specialist dyslexia coach for those who are dyslexic. Our dyslexia service is currently coordinated by the PSU's Individual Support Team (IST).
See below for further details.
The purpose of an assessment is to help you discover whether you are dyslexic or possibly another learning difficulty which might have an impact on your work or studies. If dyslexia is identified, it will also 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 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 dyslexia is identified. On moving placement it will your responsibility to communicate the report findings to your new employer. Disclosure of dyslexia is a matter of personal choice. The PSU will not share information about your dyslexia with others outside of the department involved in your training or employment.
If you are in postgraduate medical and dental 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 we can fund the assessment for you. If approved, the IST will pass your contact details to Genius Within, a specialist organisation who carry out the formal dyslexia assessments.
You will then receive an email from Genius Within asking you to set up a profile on their secure online portal. Please look out for this and check your junk email folder because everything regarding your appointments happen after you have accessed their portal. Once you have done this they will arrange the assessment appointment with you directly.
Demand for assessments is high but currently we expect that Genius Within will have sent you the initial registration email within 10 days of us receiving your application forms in the PSU. Please contact us after this time if you have not received an initial email from Genius Within.
Stage 5 You will then attend an appointment with an educational psychologist at Genius Within for your formal assessment. These will most likely be done virtually online unless you have any requirements which mean this is not possible.
You will then be sent a copy of your report via the Genius Within online portal and asked to authorise it for sharing with us in the PSU. This report will include recommendations if dyslexia is identified. If your assessment confirms that you are dyslexic, we would also advise that you share a copy of the assessment report with your Educational Supervisor and discuss any recommendations that are made. If workplace adaptations are suggested then your Employer would usually also need to be involved and an Occupational Health referral may also be useful.
Stage 6 After your assessment, if dyslexia is identified, you will also be able to access up to four funded 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.
Once we receive your report we will authorise Genius Within to offer you specialist dyslexia coaching sessions. You will book these sessions directly with a coach from the Genius Within team. You should usually have been contacted by then Genius Within team about coaching within 3 weeks of your dyslexia assessment. Please get in touch with us if you have not had any contact after 3 weeks.