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Dyslexia. 2018 May 10. doi: 10.1002/dys.1587. [Epub ahead of print]

The experiences of medical students with dyslexia: An interpretive phenomenological study.

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Department of Medical Education, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Falmer, Brighton, UK.


This article explores the experiences of U.K. medical students with dyslexia, using an interpretive phenomenological approach. This project began with a review of the literature, highlighting a void of qualitative research. We then conducted a collaborative autoethnography. This paper forms the next stage in this series of research. We aimed to elicit meaning and understanding from the lived experiences of our participants. Eight U.K. junior doctors with dyslexia were interviewed over the telephone in an in-depth, unstructured manner. Audio recordings were transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed with the aid of a template analysis. Experiences of helplessness and hopelessness were common. These may be a result of a fear of stigmatization and personal feelings of inadequacy. They may also be fuelled by the incidents of bullying and belittling from other medical students that were reported. An important meta-theme was of fear and lack of understanding. A lack of pastoral support was also reported. Their experiences of medical school assessments are also reported. More may need to be done to educate teachers and clinical supervisors on dyslexia.


dyslexia; medical education; medical students; phenomenology; specific learning difficulties


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