Being diagnosed with an SPLD in my final year of University.

Hello! Another day, another blog post. I did say that my new years resolution was to write more and at the moment as I have quite abit of free time I don’t really see why not? This post though I have wanted to write ever since I was diagnosed, and the main function is to bring awareness to young adults like myself or older adults that also might think they have a learning problem and want to get it checked out. I also just want to say that I am incredibly lucky that my parents had the finances and were willing to pay for me to get assessed and I understand that everyone isn’t in that same financial position so I will list a few free services at the end of this blog post.

In my final summer of University (between second year and third year) I was diagnosed with an SPLD associated with processing. An SPLD translates to a specific learning difficulty, which essentially means I process information much slower than the average person. And although my condition is only mild, it affects how I plan and how I write. So, if you have noticed that my sentences are slightly jumbled in my blog posts at times, that is why.

A few examples of when this arises:

  • I was on the phone the other day and the other person down the phone was quoting phone numbers for me to write down and when she said ‘double seven’ to me, it would take me quite awhile for me to understand what she was saying.
  • I find it difficult to plan essays in a linear structure, my mind essentially thinks in mind maps but then joining up arguments I find really hard. My tutor aptly told me once that I think like a shaken up glitterball which I think is a nice analogy.
  • I can read really fast but I don’t actually take much of the information in so I have to read things quite a few times, or I can’t select what information is important and relevant to an essay so I just include everything.
  • It affects my grammar and my sentence structure, hence the slightly jumbled and clunky expression at times.
  • It gets worse when I am anxious and considering that I have an anxiety disorder it has been quite difficult, I mentally block and I can’t focus as easily.
  • I find it hard to explain information, so giving directions, or writing down information in a logical way rather than just describing something.

However, it does reiterate that I am an ideas person and I have a more creative mindset and it certainly doesn’t hold me back. Despite it I have achieved good marks in all my essays this year, where the constant feedback was ‘your ideas are great but your essay structure needs work’. So essentially I just find academic writing harder than someone else but that’s okay. Yet, what I was thankful for was that it didn’t affect my creative writing that much. If you have read my creative writing piece that I did for university this year (its on this blog!), I got a first in it and I bet the reason why was because I didn’t have to stick to a certain structure and I wasn’t having to explain information in a cogent academic way.

So, I found out I may have a problem when I went to see my tutor in second year with an essay plan that she was going to look at for me and literally the first few words that came out of her mouth were ‘You’re dyslexic aren’t you?’ to which I was slightly taken aback. After the meeting I spoke to my parents and we thought that surely this would have been flagged up at school, and we also only really knew the basic definition of dyslexia which is just problems with reading, writing and spelling, 3 things at school that I never had a problem with.  However, as I have come to learn, it is way more complex than that. Due to my mum’s line of work as a speech and language therapist she knew quite a few educational psychologists so spoke to them about it and apparently a surprising amount of people are diagnosed with SPLD’s in adulthood. I was then assessed by one of the educational psychologists that she knew and lo and behold I have one. However, I don’t officially have dyslexia I have the mouthful of ‘SPLD associated with processing’, yet it falls under the dyslexia bracket so that meant I was able to access academic support at University and have extra time in exams.

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed reading, and you understand more how my mind works. Below is some links if you want to know more!

I know that universities do provide free screenings for students (I am unsure whether these apply if you are not a student)

Molly x

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