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Screening and Testing for Specific Learning Difficulties

The Disability and Dyslexia Service can carry out screening for specific learning difficulties (SpLD) free of charge to Cardiff University students. Our advisers are able to screen for difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and ADHD.  

Your tutor may have recommended that you come in and speak to an adviser or you can self refer. Students self refer for many reasons and you can speak to an adviser before any testing begins if you are unsure whether this is the best option for you.

A referral to us for screening will be confidential which means you do not have to tell anyone that you have been to see us.

How to I arrange a screening appointment?

  • Book an appointment with an advisor for the initial interview for screening.  This can be done by email via, over the phone on 029 20874844 or by dropping into the Student Support Centre.
  • The initial appointment normally lasts approximately 1 hour.  
  • You will also be asked to complete a computerised screening program; Quickscan.  A printed report is produced by Quickscan which provides a profile of your strengths and relative weaknesses; it also provides a summary of your learning style and suggestions for effective study strategies.
  • Depending of the results of Quickscan, you may be asked to complete a second computerised screening program; Studyscan.   This will provide a more detailed assessment of any specific difficulties and takes longer than QuickScan. You may be able to complete StudyScan on the same day as your initial appointment however this will depend on the time you have available. If you can not complete it on the same day you can make an appointment to finish at a more suitable time.  Sometimes the Dyslexia Adult Screening Test, is used instead of Studyscan, usually only used if there are time constraints or if this is better suited to your needs.
  • For conditions which are not identified by Studyscan, such as ADHD will be carried out after the initial appointment.
  • The outcome of the screening will be discussed with you and if there are indicators of a specific learning difficulty you will be advised on how to get a formal assessment, more details are below.
  • At this point, some students choose not to proceed any further with their screening. In all cases an adviser will explain to you the impact of this decision on putting support in place.

What happens if I need to have a formal assessment?

  • Testing for dyslexia or another Specific Learning Difficulty can be done internally by our Educational Psychologist. The appointment is arranged for you via the Disability and Dyslexia Service.
  • The cost for the assessment for a Specific Learning Difficulty is currently £250.
  • Current students may be eligible to claim for the cost of the test from the Financial Contingency Fund. This is a means tested fund, available to home (UK) students to assist those in financial hardship, more details can be found here:
  • The tests carried out include the Weschler Adult Intelligence Scales and standardised reading and spelling tests.
  • The report produced will conform to the national guidelines and meets the requirements for the Disabled Students’ Allowance.  The report will also support your application for some reasonable adjustments such as examination support and arrangements, e.g. extra time.

What happens if I need to be referred to another professional?

  • You may be advised to contact your GP for an NHS referral for investigation for Autistic Spectrum Disorders or ADHD/ADD.  However, it is unlikely that these conditions will not have been identified earlier in your education. More information on these conditions is available; Autistic Spectrum Disorders and ADHD/ADD
  • You may also be referred to a Behavioural Optometrist for investigation for Meares Irlen syndrome, more information is available on Meares Irlen syndrome.

If you have any queries regarding screening and assessment for Specific Learning Difficulties or wish to make an appointment then please contact us to see an adviser.