The social construction of dyslexia in UK higher education

CAMPBELL, Stephen Christopher (2017). The social construction of dyslexia in UK higher education. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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This thesis explores dyslexia support in higher education. The research is focussed primarily upon investigating dyslexia as a social construct, and the pedagogical strategies that are employed as part of a specialist intervention. Given the increasing numbers of students either identified with dyslexia before they enrol at university, or during their courses, the background to this thesis is the assumption amongst policy makers and funding bodies that dyslexia support, specifically that which is funded through Disabled Students Allowance (DSA), is specialised and distinct. Investigating the premise that support may be specialist, this research has drawn its findings from analysing the shared understandings of dyslexia, and the social processes that contribute to how specialists respond to it. The findings reveal that how dyslexia specialists have arrived at their understanding of the conditions is as much based on social circumstances and shared assumptions, as it is anything revealed in primary research. Within higher education in particular dyslexia is constructed through social processes that include psychological testing of students, assessing their needs to allocate funding, and discursively referring to dyslexia using medicalised and disabling terminology. The research concludes that the actual pedagogical interventions used by specialist tutors, and suggested in specialist literature, is not easily justified as specialist when compared against similar strategies used to develop students’ study skills.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Mallett, Rebecca
Additional Information: Supervisor: Dr Rebecca Mallett
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities > Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Hilary Ridgway
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2017 13:27
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 13:43

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