The following case study was taken from: IPDPS – Improving Provision for Disabled Psychology Students project, HEFCE Strand Two Project, Universities of York, Middlesex and Aston, http://www.psychology.heacademy.ac.uk/ipdps/ipdps.asp?CurrentPageID=6 (information extracted and accessed October 2006).
Bill is a joint honours psychology student with dyslexia. In addition to difficulties with arithmetic and organisational skills, he has particular problems with short-term memory, which results in him being a slow reader.
He has always found psychology a fascinating subject. Though he doesn’t feel that his impairment directed his decision to study psychology, he suggests that it may be one reason why he was interested in “how the mind works”.
Bill finds that he has to work harder than most people to achieve the same level of performance. Since reading takes him a long time, he has found it difficult to keep up with all the allocated work necessary for the degree, and feels overwhelmed by the sheer volume and rate of work he has to get through. The biggest barrier he has to overcome is only having a period of one week to submit some of his laboratory reports: “I can’t even get the reading for lab reports done in the week we have to complete reports, never mind getting the actual report written up!”.
In terms of more positive experiences, he has found it particularly beneficial when lecturers put their lecture slides on the web before classes, giving him adequate time to print them out and thus enabling him to make notes on the printed-out slide during the lecture. This saves him from having to take so many notes, and allows him time to take in the material that is being taught.
Bill has found that studying this material, and psychology in general, has led to him developing “a greater understanding of the mind and behaviour”, an understanding which him turn has given him insight into some of the difficulties he has with his own memory and cognition.