Specialist services for staff who identify with dyslexia or specific learning differences

The specialist SpLD team can offer tutorials to staff members who have a diagnosis of dyslexia or SpLD (or if they self-identify with such labels). They are also able to provide specialist assessments for dyslexia and/or SpLDs.

Who is this service for?

The tutorial service is open to any member of staff at the university who has been identified with dyslexia or specific learning difference (SpLD). We can also provide tutorials to staff members who do not have a formal diagnosis, though this will require a brief conversation to assess suitability.

The final decision to make use of tutorials should be made entirely by the individual staff member. Line managers and others may suggest the service, but pressure should not be placed on individuals to make use of tutorials as part of a performance review process or against their will. The tutorials should not be seen as a ‘fix’, but as a route to better understanding the strengths and challenges the individual has which might be connected to dyslexia/ SpLD. We aim to help the individual find ways around some of the challenges they face.

The content of the tutorials and the outcomes of assessments are confidential. This means that line managers, departments, and HR will not have access to anything covered during tutorials or assessments with consent of the individual staff member.
Full SpLD/ dyslexia assessments can also be provided where appropriate. Staff members should contact Victoria Mann (v.e.mann@sheffield.ac.uk) to discuss if this is something they are interested in.

What does the SpLD tutorial service offer?

Staff can come along for up to 5 tutorials (in addition to the initial interview) to talk about the strengths and challenges they feel are linked to their learning differences, and to work on strategies for getting around some of the things they find are barriers in the workplace.

The tutors are highly qualified and have been working with students with SpLDs for many years. Among other things they can help you find better ways to manage your time and your workload, and work with you on techniques to improve your reading and writing, your memory and your confidence. They can also help you to understand the label you have been given, and to recognise how the working environment is interacting with your learning differences.

Provision of this service will be limited to the beginnings and ends of semesters, and to non- semester periods, as our tutors have full teaching loads during mid-semester. There may, therefore, be a waiting list, depending on the staff demand for the service.

What areas are not covered by this service?

As specialists in education, the work we will do with staff members will be limited to the kinds of issues which arise in an education environment. As such, there will be certain workplace challenges we are unable to address.

Dyslexia/ SpLD assessments will not include recommendations for the workplace, as the assessors in the team do not have expertise in this area. Assessments will state whether or not dyslexia or SpLD is an appropriate diagnosis for the individual based upon the results of cognitive tests and further discussion, and they may make general recommendations.

It is also important to point out that the tutorials will not ‘fix’ perceived difficulties. Dyslexia and SpLD never disappear, and individuals may need significant periods of time to shift or adapt their ways of learning. Our service does not take a ‘tick-box’ approach to support, and the outcomes will not be shared with anyone outside the service without consent.

How do I make use of this service?

If you feel that specialist tutorials would be useful, the first thing to do is chat to your line- manager to discuss whether or not funding might be available for you to make use of this support. If you don’t already have an identification of dyslexia or SpLD, you should undertake this free online screener, which may help you decide whether or not the service is appropriate

If your department/ line manager agree that the tutorials can be funded, you should email Victoria Mann (v.e.mann@sheffield.ac.uk) to arrange a brief telephone chat. If you do not have a formal identification of dyslexia of specific learning difficulty, this chat will help determine your suitability for the service. If it is decided the service is unlikely to be of use in a particular situation, alternative services may be suggested.

For more guidance on the process of tutorial and assessment provision, please click on the tab to the right ‘guidelines for provision of 1:1 SpLD services for staff’.
Initial interest in this service should be made first by the staff member.

It is important to note that:

  • What is discussed and worked upon in the tutorials and in the assessment is confidential. Information will only be shared following explicit consent from the staff member using the service.
  • The focus of the tutorials will be directed by the staff member. The sessions will not be influenced by the preferences of others.
  • Staff members should not be placed under pressure to use this service.
  • The staff member need not continue with tutorials if they are not finding them useful.

Members of our team are fully qualified to undertake diagnostic assessments for SpLDs/ dyslexia, but these assessments will not be able to make recommendations for changes to the workplace. Staff members should be sure that a diagnostic assessment of the kind we can offer is appropriate before undertaking the assessment.

Funding Costs

The rate for tutorial provision is £45 per hour. The cost is usually met by the individual’s department. However, if they are uncomfortable in discussing tutorial support with their line-manager, we may be able to explore other options.

The fee for a full ‘diagnostic’ assessment is £450. An assessment is not needed before taking up tutorial support. Funding for full assessments has so far been covered by departments, but again, we would consider other options if necessary.

User Feedback

I personally have found it extremely useful in many different aspects of my life. I am currently studying towards a professional accountancy qualification and found that the techniques I have learned are assisting me in retaining the information required for my exams. In addition I am finding the revision less laborious because of my new approach to studying.

In the workplace I find that I am able to retain more information and being more confident in asking others to modify how we interact with each other to assist me in remembering meetings and discussions.