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Case Study – Music and Language / Comprehension Difficulties

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T is a violinist in his first year study for a BMus. He struggled at school with his academic work but loves playing his instrument. He excels in creative subjects and got an A in Music A-level, a B in Media Studies and a B in Technology. He found out that he is dyslexic when he was doing his A-levels and didn’t feel that he needed any help.

He is currently struggling with academic aspcts of his course and has fallen behind with his written assignments. He is concerned that he cannot fit in all his practice and academic work.

Strategies
  • Apply for DSA.
  • Use of computer – inspiration for organising ideas for academic work, Texthelp.
  • Flexible deadlines on academic work.
  • Lecturers to give clear outline of the lecture at the beginning and handouts before the lecture.
  • All written information to be a minimum font size of 14.
  • Use coloured paper for handouts.
  • Use computer for written examinations.
  • Extra time in examinations.
  • Extended book and CD loans in the library.

P is a 20 year old violinist in year two of the BMus course. He was assessed as moderately dyslexic while in the sixth form of his state school, where he also had access to weekly support from a specialist tutor. P chose A level subjects which required the minimum of essay writing, and therefore had little experience in this area when he started his college course. He describes his specific difficulties as follows:

  • Slow pace of reading (both text and musical notation).
  • Not confident that he has read accurately (especially affecting sight-reading situations).
  • Spelling tends to be inconsistent.
  • Frustration at being unable to communication (both verbally and in writing) ideas that are clear in his mind.
Strategies
  • Personal Learning Plan put in place and reviewed annually.
  • Approved use of recording facilities in lectures, tutorials and in principal study.
  • Orchestral excerpts and other scores presented in clear, well-contrasted print.
  • Weekly meetings with Learning Support Tutor.
  • Flexible deadlines for written assignments up to one week as necessary.
  • Prioritised reading lists.
  • Copies of overhead transparencies and similar materials used in lectures.
  • 25% additional time in examinations.
  • Extended library loan facilities on request.

P’s DSA has provided computer hardware and assistive software, also a general allowance for photocopying, printer cartridges and internet connection.

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