Screening and formal assessment for specific learning difficulties (SpLDs) such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia

On this page you will find information regarding:

Screening for SpLDs

If you think you might be dyslexic, dyspraxic or dyscalculic, you may wish to use a screening tool to explore your strengths and weaknesses. Using an online screening tool will give you flexibility and choice in terms of when, where and how you do this.

The University can neither recommend nor endorse any particular screening tool or provider but examples of online screening tools can be found at:

Please note: The full, personalised Dyslexia+ Student Profiler screening report can provide detailed information about your strengths and areas of challenge, together with practical guidance and links to effective learning resources. The detailed Dyslexia+ Student Profiler may inform your decision whether to proceed with a full diagnostic assessment.

Payment for screening is your responsibility – please follow the guidance offered by the provider.

Screening results do not provide suitable evidence for applying for reasonable adjustments such as extra time in exams at the University of Birmingham. A formal assessment with a clear diagnosis of a SpLD such as dyslexia is required before adjustments can be made.

It is your decision whether to proceed with a full diagnostic assessment with an appropriately qualified specialist, such as an educational psychologist or specialist teacher assessor.

Formal diagnostic assessments

A formal assessment could help you answer what may be a long-held question about whether you have a specific learning difficulty. A full diagnostic assessment report may provide evidence for reasonable adjustments such as exam arrangements (e.g. extra reading /writing time) at the University. It may also support a Disabled Student’s Allowances (DSAs) application (for home students).

All assessment reports must be available in English. The University cannot accept reports written in other languages and we are unable to provide a translation service. 

For more information on the criteria to be met in the report please review our Accessing Support (PDF - 159KB) guidelines.

Arranging a full diagnostic assessment

COVID-19 update:

We understand that many students are unable to arrange a full diagnostic assessment at this time due to physical distancing measures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Until the end of June 2021 a professional evaluation of need based on a well evidenced screening and remote diagnostic interview could provide evidence for interim reasonable adjustments to be put in place. 

The screening will need to be undertaken independently before arranging a diagnostic interview to produce an evalution of need.

The University is unable to recommend or endorse any particular provider of diagnostic interviews but organisations that may be able to assist include.

Costs may vary and not all assessors can investigate the full range of SpLDs (e.g. dyspraxia and dyscalculia). Please ensure that the assessor holds a current Assessment Practising Certificate (APC) or Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) certificate and adds the certificate number and their signature to the evaluation of need.

Please note that all remote evaluations of need must contain the wording of the ‘specific statement’ as advised in the SASC guidance.

If you have any further questions about obtaining a remote evaluation of need please email disability@contacts.bham.ac.uk 

What to do after the assessment

Please make an application with our Student Disability Service and upload a copy of your diagnostic assessment report. We will then contact you to discuss your support needs.

Please be aware that the deadline for applications for reasonable adjustments for exams in May/June 2021 is Friday 5 March 2021. We will continue to process your application for disability related support after this date, but if you have support requirements that need to be considered for upcoming exams you will need to talk to your Wellbeing Officer about the University's extenuating circumstances procedure.

Financial assistance towards a formal assessment following online screening

If you have a household income of less than £36,000 and are unable to pay for the assessment yourself, you may be able to obtain up to £325 of financial assistance towards the cost of a full educational psychologist’s or specialist teacher’s assessment for specific learning difficulties. Due to ongoing restrictions in relation to COVID-19, we can now offer financial support of up to £200 towards the cost of an evaluation of need assessment for specific learning difficulties carried out by an educational psychologist or specialist teachers assessor. 

Please note that that funding is not available for updating any previous SpLD documentation e.g. Form 8 or pre-16 diagnostic report.

In order to be considered for funding, complete the financial support form and attach a copy of the outcome of your initial screening, which must show you are either ‘borderline’ or ‘at risk’.

The University will use your screening results solely for the purpose of determining eligibility for funding. We will make no representation as to the accuracy or otherwise of the results themselves.

It takes around two weeks to verify the information and reach a decision about the funding. 

The maximum we can award is £325 for a full educational psychologist's or specialist teacher's assessment or £200 for an evaluation of need assessment. The full cost of the assessment may be more than this. If your application for financial support is successful, you will need to fund any additional costs.

An email regarding the decision will be sent to your University email account, with any award being paid directly into your bank account.

If you do not qualify for financial assistance, it is your responsibility to pay the whole cost of the full diagnostic assessment. Assessments may cost between £300 and £600.

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Professional Services