Taking on university maths as a dyslexic student

Posted in: maths and statistics

To mark the recent Dyslexia Awareness Week, here are the Mathematics Resources Centre's top tips to make learning maths dyslexic-friendly.

If you're dyslexic, you're probably fed up with people telling you that Einstein was dyslexic – because who wants the pressure of being the next Einstein, right? 

But you don't need to be Einstein to be inspired by him, so let's take a little bit of his genius and a little bit of modern technology to make learning maths at university a dyslexic friendly experience. 

Here are some practical tips to help you with your maths learning:

  1. Think outside the box: University lecturers are likely to be more open to non-standard solutions than school teachers, so don’t be afraid to think creatively. 
  2. Solve first, then rearrange: Dyslexic people, in general, tend to think less linearly than neuro-typical people. This is a blessing and a curse for mathematics, which is both the act of solving a problem and the act of communicating the solution. Use rough paper, or an ipad, to solve the problem without worrying about the order of your work, and then rearrange these thoughts into something more linear to communicate it to others. 
  3. Adapt materials in advance: The University works hard to ensure that all teaching materials are accessible. This means you should be able to access lecture materials in advance and then edit the layout and font to suit you best.
  4. Enhance readability: Verdana is a great font for viewing maths as it is a dyslexia friendly sans-serif, but also leaves a clear contrast between words and mathematical symbols. You might also like to increase the line spacing to improve readability and give you space to make notes. 
  5. Use colour coding: You can use colour to highlight, either on or off the screen. Using different colours to represent mathematical vocabulary, given information and key instructional words can be helpful. 
  6. Use screen readers: Learning materials are likely to be screen reader friendly. If you haven’t used a screen reader before it's a great way to turn text into an audible format, which might be a more effective way to take in lots of information. The Mathematics Resources Centre (MASH) can help you get started with using a screen reader for mathematical content. 
  7. Use MASH: You don’t need to tell us you're dyslexic – you're in control of your own learning at university. We can help you turn beautiful, messy ideas into a formal solution to hand in to your lecturer. All our tutors have received training in working with dyslexic students. This doesn’t mean we are an expert on you, but it does mean you can be confident you'll be welcomed in our sessions. 

And who knows, maybe you are the next Einstein in the making?!

(Feature image: Unsplash)

Posted in: maths and statistics

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