KSS Foundation trainees: please note that from 2nd August 2023 all KSS Foundation trainees should access support services via the KSS’s own Professional Support & Wellbeing Service instead of via us. Please head to https://kss.hee.nhs.uk/kss-foundation/current-doctors-in-training/careers-and-wellbeing-support/ for more information.
Dyslexia is a specific learning difference resulting in a range of specific skills and strengths alongside some challenges in information, learning or language processing.
The exact prevalence of dyslexia is unknown and estimates vary. It is thought up to 10% of doctors in postgraduate training are dyslexic. It is not uncommon for dyslexic healthcare professionals in postgraduate training to have passed through many educational milestones without dyslexia ever being suspected.
Identification of dyslexia is not an indication of clinical incompetence or lack of knowledge; highly intelligent, capable and competent senior healthcare professionals can struggle during postgraduate exams or at work due to previously unidentified dyslexia.
Features of dyslexia include strengths in creative thinking and problem solving, visual or 3D thinking and excellent verbal and relational communication skills. Dyslexic adults may find it hard to complete tasks on time (especially those involving reading or writing under time pressure), organise and sequence tasks effectively, remember information under pressure (for example in exam situations or when tired) or they may use more energy, attention or time to read and process complex information. Difficulties in spelling, formulating written expression and processing print may also be a feature in some cases and affect performance.
Dyslexia may be associated with other learning or information processing differences in some cases and there can be an overlap with other neurodivergent conditions such as dyspraxia or ADD/ADHD.
The PSU in London & KSS can fund an independent specialist dyslexia assessment for you if:
1) you are a healthcare professional in training who meets our eligibility criteria, and...
2) you are experiencing difficulties at work or training and suspect that unidentified dyslexia may be a contributing factor to your difficulties.
Information on how to access an assessment is in the tabs further down this page.
If you are eligible for accessing PSU support (see eligibility criteria) and have not previously had a full assessment for dyslexia you may be eligible for a funded dyslexia assessment via the PSU.
This is a multi-step process as follows:
Step 1 Complete self-screening questionnaire
Complete brief self-screening questionnaire via British Dyslexia Association adult screening checklist and keep a record of your screening score
Step 2: Submit application
Complete and submit the following PSU application form Dyslexia application form (Form A).
Please give as much information as possible about what you are struggling with at work or in training which has made you consider dyslexia, regardless of your self-screening score.
If anyone involved in your training has recommended a dyslexia assessment please let us know this and why they suspect dyslexia. We will only use this information to help us decide if we can fund a dyslexia assessment for you within the PSU.
Step 3 (Optional supervisor form)
If your Supervisor or Programme Director has recommended an assessment or has other information which you think may help your application please ask them to complete this form (Supervisor/TPD Form (Form B)
Step 4: Await PSU process and further contact
Once we receive you application we will review the information to decide if we can offer you a funded assessment. If we have enough information to justify an assessment we will automatically refer you for the assessment. If we don't have enough information we will offer you an appointment with one of our advisors in the SPOC (Single Point of Contact) team first to discuss things further.
Currently the dyslexia assessments are done via 'Genius Within' and you should receive an email from their Client Services team within 2 weeks after we refer you. The automated email will ask you to register into their secure online portal so that they can arrange an appointment with you. Please look out for this and check your junk email folder because everything regarding your appointments happen via the portal after you have registered onto it.
Demand for assessments is high but currently we expect that Genius Within to have sent you the initial registration email within 2 weeks of us receiving your application form in the PSU.
If you have not received an initial email from either us in the PSU or Genius Within within 2 weeks of submitting your form please email us at Neurodiversity.PSULondon@nhs.net so we can look into this.
Step 5: Assessment appointment
You assessment appointment will be online and with an educational psychologist at Genius Within.
You will be receive some material in the post which you will need at the time of your assessment. The appointment will take up to around 3 hours. Face to face appointments can be arranged if you have any accessibility requirements.
You will be told at the end of your appointment if your results are consistent with a finding of dyslexia and will have a chance to ask questions at the time and afterwards.
If features suggestive of wider neurodivergent conditions are also identified in your assessment then this will also be shared with you at the time and in your report.
You can contact your assessor directly for a follow-up conversation if you have any questions once you've received their summary report.
Step 6: After your assessment
A draft copy of your assessment report will be made available to you via the online Genius Within online (usually within 1 week) and you will be asked if you're happy for it to be finalised.
You will also be asked to authorise the release of the summary with us in the PSU if you are happy to do so. Without this authorisation we will not know of the outcome of your assessment and can therefore not offer you additional input unless you notify us directly.
We will not share details of what is in your report with anyone involved with your work or training or others outside of the PSU.
Your report will include recommendations for support if neurodivergence is identified.
If your assessment confirms that you are dyslexic, and you would like to consider support or a trial of adjustments at work or in your training we suggest that you share a copy of the summary recommendations with your Educational Supervisor.
If workplace adaptations are suggested then your employer would usually also need to know and an Occupational Health referral may need to be made so that specific recommendations are made.
If specialist coaching is recommended we will fund 4 sessions of individual dyslexia coaching sessions through the PSU. As long as you have enabled for your report to be released to us via the Genius Within portal you should expect an email from us within 1 week asking if you would like to proceed with dyslexia coaching. If you have not received an email from us later that time but would like to access coaching please email Neurodiversity.PSULondon@nhs.net.
If dyslexia is not identified but other neurodivergence is you may still be eligible for further specialist support including specialist support. Please email us about this for further information. We will usually need to see a copy of the summary assessment findings and recommendations to advise you.
The four funded sessions of dyslexia coaching will be delivered through coaches at Genius Within.
You will book these sessions directly with the coach after they receive our coaching referral. You should expect contact from Genius Within within 2 weeks of you releasing your report to us and confirming that you'd like to proceed with coaching. Please get in touch with us if you have not had any contact after this time.
If neurodivergence is not identified, we still have a number of other resources within the PSU which may be useful for you such as coaching from within the PSU, individual communications or linguistics sessions or Careers advice. Please email us if you would like to know what options may be available for you.
The purpose of an assessment is to help you discover whether you are dyslexic or possibly have another learning difference which might be having an impact on your work or studies.
If dyslexia is identified, it will also then be possible to access specialist coaching which can help you to identify you existing strengths and strategies as well as developing new skills and strategies to overcome some of the challenges you may at work or in training which may be related to how you process information and learn best as a dyslexia adult.
Disclosure of dyslexia is a matter of personal choice. The PSU will not share information about your dyslexia with others outside of the department who are involved in your training or employment.
However in order for you to access the adaptations and support in work or training your employers and supervisor will need to know. You can discuss the implications of disclosure with your dyslexia coach or a member of the PSU SPOC (Single Point of Contact) team confidentially at any time. You can request a SPOC appointment via the corresponding page on our website.
In your dyslexia assessment report you should have recommendations on what support would be useful. There is no generic list of recommendations as the features of dyslexia vary from person to person. However there are some broad areas which the assessor may comment on.
These may include:
Exam/assessment adaptations: these may include extra time or access to a different exam format. You will need to contact your Exam Board directly to request these adaptations.
Workplace adaptations: these may include changes in your work environment, duties or rota for example or access to IT software or other technologies to enable you to carry out your day to day work responsibilities. It is the responsibility of your employer to consider and try to implement these so the first step would be ask you your line manager or HR department about how you can access help with workplace adaptations and funding for assistive technologies if required. If they are not sure what can help or is possible, they can ask the Occupational Health team to see you.
Training adaptations: it can be helpful to include those involved in your training (eg supervisors and Training Programme Directors) in these discussions and correspondences early too as you may also benefit from some adjustments to aspects of your training. Not all adjustments need to be permanent or lifelong but a trial for several months can be useful until you find out what helps you.
Occupational Health input: your employer may ask for a formal Occupational Health assessment or alternatively you can seek one if you (or they) are not sure what workplace adjustments may help. Where possible it can be helpful to ask to see an Occupational Health Physician with expertise in supporting neurodivergent clinicians.
Access to work funding: you should be able to access additional support and independent funding via the Government's Access to Work Scheme. You will need to self refer by completing the online form on the Government website . An Access to work advisor will then arrange an assessment with you and go through the options. The waiting list can be long and take several months so we suggest doing this early regardless of any other support you access.
Dyslexia-focused coaching: we in the PSU will fund four sessions of individual dyslexia coaching if you are dyslexic. If your assessment was done through us and you consented to your final assessment report to be released to us then we usually contact you within a week to offer you dyslexia coaching.
Please email us at Neurodiversity.PSULondon@nhs.net if you would like to access dyslexia coaching but have not heard from us within one week of your assessment.
Dyslexia Peer Support Group: the PSU runs an informal weekly online peer support group for dyslexic healthcare practitioners to connect with others who are dyslexic and discuss any experiences, questions or concerns they have. You can come along to any sessions when you are free. Information on how to sign up is in the Professional Support Unit Workshop & Course section of this website.
Psychological support: Working and training as a neurodivergent healthcare professional within environments which can be inflexible or unsupportive of neurodivergence, or with colleagues who lack adequate knowledge and understanding of the additional strengths and skills that neurodivergent healthcare professionals bring to the team can be stressful and in some case have a significant impact on mental health. If you are a doctor or dentist in training in London and eligible for using our services in the PSU you can access free and confidential mental health support via our Trainee Doctors and Dentists Support Service.
If you have additional needs or are not sure what to do you can also email us at Neurodiversity.PSULondon@nhs.net or book a confidential SPOC (Single Point of Contact) appointment with one of our advisors in the PSU. Please see our SPOC page for further details.
The following pages include number of resources which may be of use for trainees or educators:
If you have any questions about dyslexia or are still unsure of how to access support please contact us by emailing Neurodiversity.PSULondon@nhs.net