It's your choice
Only 11% of dyslexic students recently surveyed know anything about the specialist software on offer before they are assessed for the Disabled Students Allowance for further education and higher education, despite their legal rights to accessible materials throughout their schooling. [source a]
Many schools, colleges and universities are aware of their legal and ethical obligations to provide students with the alternative formats of their choice, however a combination of competing priorities, shortage of budgets and, in some cases, a lack of awareness means that many students with visual or print impairments are missing out on innovative resources that can transform their lives.
"I enjoy learning now! It doesn't hold me back at all. I can keep up with my peers or more like they're trying to keep up with me!" A Dyslexic student, Athlone Institute of Technology
Equally many students and parents of students are not aware of their rights and the benefits that come with accessing alternative formats. Whether you, your child or a member of your family are dyslexic or visually impaired, accessing the best information, the top advice and sourcing the available funding has got to be of paramount importance.
Regularly accessing your course or school materials in your preferred alternative format has proven to significantly improve learning rates resulting in better than predicted exam results and has also been proven to positively affect students' confidence, motivation and self esteem.
"Combining text & audio in course materials has increased learning effectiveness by 40%" [source b]
"Everyone else in my class gets their handouts during the lesson, my large print version always arrives a week later, and my homework deadline has already passed."
As a student you have a right to access the same the same information as your peers in a format that meets your needs. That format might be MP3, Braille, large print, audio, DAISY – The choice is yours!
Source a) The research (Draffan E.A., Evans D.G. & Blenkhorn P. (2006) in preparation – A survey of the Use of Assistive Technology by Students with Dyslexia in Post-Secondary Education) was based on a survey of 455 dyslexic students who had applied for the allowance during the 2004-2005 academic year.