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Disability and Dyslexia Service

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We use the term Specific Learning Differences (SpLDs) to cover conditions including dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and ADHD/ADD. 

This is the preferred term in the UK; in North America the term 'Learning Disability’ is often used.

For more information please see our Specific Learning Differences home page.

If you would like to have a full diagnostic assessment for SpLDs for the purposes of accessing support while you are on your course, then the first step in the process is to complete our screening questionnaire

A member of our team will review your responses within 15 working days and email you to let you know the outcome. If we think you show signs of a SpLD(s) then we will refer you to our external assessor for a full diagnostic assessment. If there are no signs of a SpLD then we will refer you to Academic Skills for general study support. Please see the flowchart which outlines the timelines in the DDS-funded assessment process here: Diagnostic Assessment Process flowchart [PDF 217KB]

Please note, students are not able to have a standalone assessment for ADHD as a SpLD. If you want an assessment for ADHD only, you should contact your GP

However, we would be unable to refer and fund you for an assessment if you have been de-registered. Additionally, if you are a final year undergraduate student contacting us after March 1st or if you are a postgraduate student with less than 12 weeks of your academic programme remaining, we would not be able to refer and fund you for assessment as there is not sufficient time remaining for us to implement the various forms of support we offer. 

In these cases, if you would still like to be assessed, then you can organise and self-fund a diagnostic assessment via the British Dyslexia Association.

Anything disclosed in this questionnaire is confidential and will not be shared with anyone else in the university unless we deem that you are a risk to yourself or others, at which point we may have to break confidentiality.

If you disclose other health conditions, we may contact you to offer additional support or a meeting with an adviser if appropriate. We may disclose other health conditions to our assessors if you are referred for a full diagnostic assessment as it helps to give them an overall picture of difficulties so that they can make an informed decision on your case.


No. While our specialist assessors can provide a diagnosis of ADHD as a SpLD, please be aware that if referred for assessment, you will be screened and assessed for dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD.

While a diagnosis of ADHD as a SpLD would help you access a range of academic support, it would not entitle you to medical care such as medication or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. If you are seeking this, you are recommended to get a medical diagnosis of ADHD via your GP.


No, the Disability and Dyslexia Service will fully fund the assessment for you.

However, we would be unable to refer and fund you for an assessment if you:

  • have been de-registered
  • are a final year undergraduate student contacting us after March 1st
  • are a postgraduate student with less than 12 weeks of your academic programme remaining.

In these cases, if you would still like to be assessed, then you can organise and self-fund a diagnostic assessment via the British Dyslexia Association.

A diagnostic assessment looks to investigate the individual’s pattern of strengths and difficulties and is carried out either by an Educational Psychologist or a Specialist Teacher Assessor, suitably qualified in conducting assessments for SpLDs.

It will be conducted remotely and takes around 3 hours, during which you will be screened for dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD and assessed as appropriate. The assessment will include an interview and various tasks related to reading, writing, memory and information processing. The purpose of the assessment is not merely to find out whether an individual has a SpLD(s), but also to understand the person’s learning style to identify the best ways to manage any underlying difficulties.

Following your assessment, your assessor will produce a diagnostic report, written in accordance with the SpLD Working Group 2005/ DfES Guidelines for Assessments of SpLDs in Higher Education, which will state which, if any, SpLDs you have and will contain recommendations for support from the university and any other organisations the assessor feels would be helpful. 

No, we can only accept a full diagnostic report written by an Educational Psychologist or Specialist Tutor to agree reasonable adjustments including Examination Access Arrangements (EAAs).  Additionally, these forms cannot be used as evidence for Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA).

However, JCQ Form 8s may be used as evidence to refer students for a full diagnostic assessment.

If you already have a full diagnostic report confirming a diagnosis of a SpLD(s) or a letter from a psychiatrist or appropriate medical practitioner confirming a diagnosis of ADHD/ADD, in the English language, then we can accept this evidence in order to implement support.

Please forward your documents to and one of our team will be able to advise you. Should your evidence not be sufficient to put adjustments in place, then in most circumstances we can organise and fund a full diagnostic assessment for you.

DDS will receive your diagnostic report within 10 working days of your assessment and will then contact you to arrange an appointment to discuss its findings with one of our advisers.

If you have been diagnosed with one or more SpLDs, then your adviser will discuss the reasonable adjustments that DDS can put in place for you to support you on your course, including Examination Access Arrangements, where eligible. Your adviser will create a Student Support Summary, which records the agreed adjustments, and forward this to your academic school with your consent.

If you do not receive a diagnosis of a SpLD, your adviser will discuss alternative forms of support that are available to you from the university.

When you meet with an adviser, they will explain the various forms of internal and external support that are available to you.

Below are examples of support that are available for students with a SpLD(s). Please be aware that individual arrangements are based on your specific diagnosis/diagnoses, the results of your diagnostic report and are at the discretion of the university and subject to practice and course regulations.

  • Examination Access Arrangements such as additional time during examinations*.
  • Reasonable adjustments from the university to support you with your studies such as access to lecture slides in advance and access to assistive technology on campus computers, including read aloud and mind mapping softwares.
  • Specialist support such as one-to-one study skills tuition to develop academic skills e.g. reading comprehension, structuring writing and time management and one-to-one specialist mentoring (for students with a diagnosis of ADHD) to address barriers to participating in their studies e.g. managing stress, anxiety and procrastination.
  • Disabled Students' Allowance (for students from the UK or who have been resident in the UK for at least 5 years).

*In the United Kingdom, students with dyslexia typically receive 25% additional time in their examinations, which is the level recommended in the 1999 Working Party report into supporting dyslexic students within Higher Education. Students can request more than this, but it is unlikely they will be recommended any more than 25%. 

No. For a variety of reasons, including the Data Protection Act, we cannot make arrangements for students without their written consent, as they may not want them or they may want something other than what the diagnostician has recommended.

As such, students need to apply for Examination Access Arrangements such as additional time. Please see our webpage regarding Examination Access Arrangements for more details.

No, not without your consent, though this might limit the support that we can offer. While we always encourage students to disclose their SpLDs to their academic school or department, we would only contact them about a diagnosis with students’ express consent.

No. We do not provide coursework extensions on the basis of a SpLD. We can write to tutors to support extensions on occasion if there is a valid reason (e.g. you have been in hospital), but you will need to apply for Extenuating Circumstances yourself. These are not approved automatically and are at the discretion of the academic department. Using deadline extensions is a bit like being overdrawn at the bank – easy to fall behind and very difficult to catch up again!

QMUL does not offer any free printing for disabled students. A variety of text-to-speech programs are installed on our network which enable students to access electronic materials, reducing the need to print for disability-related reasons. Please do contact DDS if you would like any more information about this.

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