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    Experiencing Dyslexia Through the Prism of Difference


    Murphy, Keith C. (2021) Experiencing Dyslexia Through the Prism of Difference. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Abstract

    According to research by AHEAD (2021), students with specific learning difficulties are accessing third level education in greater numbers than ever before. My research has shown this to be the case also, however, my research, alongside a larger body of research (Clouder 2020; O’Brien, 2019; McCullagh, 2018) have highlighted that student with dyslexia tend not to access the support services. Within the body of research conducted in third level education in Ireland, few have focused on the overall experiences of students with dyslexia studying in third level education. My study addresses this gap in knowledge as it provides an insight into how students with dyslexia navigate third level education. Ethnography was used as the principle method of research in this project, and 16 participants took part. The participants varied in age range and identified as different genders. The range of programmes studied by the participants were at undergraduate and postgraduate level and my research participants were attending four different third-level institutions. Contemporary discourse and literature surrounding dyslexia is often dominated by notions of disability, deficit, lack, vulnerability, and social expectancies around achievement in education. Accepting dyslexia as an integral part of the self and viewing it through a prism of difference as opposed to a deficit, were emerging themes in this study, as motivators to success. Institutional and attitudinal barriers also emerged as common themes in this study as did the impacts on academic self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence as a result of studying in third level education with dyslexia. My research found that when students identify dyslexia as a limitation, it becomes a barrier to successful learning and has a negative effect on their identity, which impacts them socially and academically, due to what I call internalised ableism. However, an easier pathway to success is achieved when viewing dyslexia as a difference and studying through a Neurodiverse Approach. This approach enabled my participants to achieve academic success, not despite their dyslexia but in partnership with it. Ultimately, this dissertation asks what their specific experiences are and what does it mean to study in third level education with dyslexia. This research and its findings are therefore relevant to several stakeholders such as policy makers, third level education institutions, disability support staff and teaching staff.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Dyslexia; Prism of Difference;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Anthropology
    Item ID: 15835
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2022 10:47
    URI:

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