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What are diagnostic assessments? Diagnostic assessments for specific learning difficulties (SpLD)

This information is for students who live in the UK. If you live outside of the UK see International students - disability support.

A diagnostic assessment is carried out by an educational psychologist or a specialist teacher. It can determine if your difficulties with studying and learning are due to one or more specific learning difficulty (SpLD).

It can also help to:

  • identify what support you need to help you study
  • indicate what type of learning suits you
  • explain to others about your specific learning difficulty
  • highlight your strengths
  • get the support you may need at your workplace.

Your diagnostic assessment report can be used to request specialist study support from us. You can also use it to apply for Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA).

If you already have a diagnostic assessment report, contact us to check if it can be used to request study support or whether you need a new one. If you live in England, contact the Disability Support Team. If you live in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, contact your student support team.

What a diagnostic assessment involves

An assessment can take up to three hours and can be either in person or by video call. It's your responsibility to find a qualified assessor. It will: 

  • examine your learning history 
  • profile your working memory 
  • identify your current strengths and weaknesses. 

Paying for a diagnostic assessment

For students who meet the criteria, there is funding available to pay for an SpLD diagnostic assessment including dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia. Funding is also available for diagnosis of visual stress (also referred to as Irlen Syndrome, Meares-Irlen Syndrome or Scotopic Sensitivity).

If you live in England, Northern Ireland or Wales see Paying for a diagnostic assessment in England, Northern Ireland or Wales. If you live in Scotland see Paying for a diagnostic assessment in Scotland.

Funding not available for medical diagnoses of ADHD and autism

As diagnoses for ADHD and autism are available through the National Health Service (NHS) our funding does not cover the cost for these diagnoses.

If you experience a delay in getting a diagnosis for ADHD and autism through the NHS, you may still be able to apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) once you have a referral from your doctor onto the NHS waiting list. For further advice contact disability support.

Sending us your diagnostic assessment report

Once you have your diagnostic assessment you can use it to request specialist support. Complete the Disability Support Form and send us your diagnostic assessment report with it. For more information and options for completing the Disability Support Form see Telling the OU about your disability.

Last updated 1 month ago