Shadowing a DoctorJune 24, 2013
Being dyslexic can make studying in a competitive field such as medicine even more challenging. However, dyslexia by itself is not a barrier to becoming a doctor.
Applying to Medical School When You Have Dyslexia
First and foremost it pays to know that being dyslexic will not count against you when you apply to medical school. In an effort to ensure equality in the admissions process, the governing body, Council of Heads of Medicine or CHMS has published guidelines to help prospective students with learning disabilities.
Here are a few important things that you should keep in mind:
-You are required to disclose that you are dyslexic while filling in the UCAS application form.
-You will need to submit your dyslexia assessment report signed by an educational psychologist or specialist teacher. Along with that you will need to submit their recommendations for the academic support that may be needed.
-If you meet the relevant academic criteria and all other factors being equal, medical schools are mandated to give your application the equal consideration of the other students.
Before you go for your medical school interview, the University’s occupational health physician will do a thorough investigation and assessment to determine whether or not you meet the ‘fitness to practice’ clause as set out by the Medical Act 1983. If you pass, you will be granted additional interview time.
Remember the aim of the interview is not to assess your disability so do not feel compelled to bring it up or discuss it. Instead the main goal is to evaluate your academic and personal qualities and see if you meet their high standards of excellence, so stay focused on that.
Getting The Support You Need After You Start Med School
Once you are accepted into med school, the school is obliged to provide reasonable adjustments and allowances that will help you progress. There are several dyslexia support tools, from study support to specialist equipment that will help you maximize your potential.
Here are some of the support tools and allowances that you can avail of:
Disabled Student Allowance or DSA, which can be used to cover the cost of…
-Dictaphone to record lectures
-Specialist software (e.g. Text Help and mind mapping software)
-Broadband internet allowance
-Study skills support
-An additional 25% extra time during your written examinations. This extra time is extended through all your years of study in medical school.
-Specially printed notes and handouts in colours that are easier for you to read. These will be given to you prior to lectures
-Access to a study support tutor
-Extended library loans.
An Interesting Observation
Several 5th year medical students were asked whether they felt that their dyslexia put them at any disadvantage and the overwhelming response was in the negative. Most students claimed that neither professors nor students gave them a hard time. Instead, everyone went out of their way to help them.