Authors: Bacon, Alison M, & Samantha Bennett.

Article: Dyslexia in Higher Education: The decision to study art.

Publication: European Journal of Special Needs Education (Taylor and Francis). iFirst 20 Nov 2012 2012 | DOI: 10.1080/08856257.2012.742748

Increasing numbers of students in Higher Education (HE) have dyslexia and are particularly over represented in the visual and creative arts. While dyslexia has been associated with artistic talent, some applicants may perceive their academic opportunities as limited because of negative learning experiences associated with their dyslexia. This study explored how the qualitative lived experience of dyslexia was implicated in degree choice. Transcripts of semi-structured interviews with 13 arts students provided data for an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Three superordinate themes emerged which can be described under the broad headings: (1) Influence of school and family, (2) Dyslexia as a strength, (3) Having a passion for art. The data from eight students clearly suggested that they had actively chosen to study art because of a long standing interest and acknowledged talent. The others had perceived their academic options as otherwise limited. However, for all participants, studying and practising art had helped facilitate the development of a positive personal identity as an artist with dyslexia. We suggest this to be an important illustration of how access to HE can help individuals with dyslexia to achieve their potential.

Tagged as: art and dyslexic talents


Alison M. Bacon & Samantha Bennett (2013) Dyslexia in Higher Education: the decision to study art, European Journal of Special Needs Education, 28:1, 19-32, DOI: 10.1080/08856257.2012.742748