Daughter wanting join


My daughter is in Sea Cadets and loves it. She has only been a full cadet for 6 months and already been to Caledonia, Piers Cellars and other weekends away, she has got numerous badges, been in the guard of honour in her first parade (Trafalgar day) and been on the rowing team, drill team etc.etc.
In cadets they see no problem with her but on her medical records there is references to her maybe having Autistic tendencies although no diagnosis and how we have struggled sometimes with her behaviour. She is severely dyslexic but doesn't let it hold her back. She is home schooled and doing 2 GCSE's in May (Maths and Environmental Management) which are a year early. On her 15th birthday yesterday her choice of what to do was go to the recruitment office. She has now decided she would like to become a Supply Chain Logistican. She follows a gluten free diet out of choice as it makes her feel better and has put herself on a training programme and diet in prep.
My question is am I going to end up with a heartbroken daughter because of her medical records stating autistic tendencies and her dyslexia? Although we have mixed emotions on her going in the Navy I can see how it would be a fantastic life for her I just worry how she would cope socially if she is tired as that's when she struggles (as do many people).


War Hero
Super Moderator
Before I start, I'm not medically qualified in any shape or form, neither am I, or have I, been a recruiter.

I'm not sure about the autism bit but if she hasn't been formally diagnosed I don't see that it would matter, as for dyslexia, it's not a problem as I've served with many dyslexics, @Sumo is our resident dyslexic and may be able to offer a bit more re-assurance than I can. When I was a Phase 2 Divisional Officer we used to send people off for checks, some had special glasses or overlays to assist them, normally a pink or blue colour but the MoD decided it was too expensive so stopped it, no good for your girl but does show the MoD are fully aware of the syndrome, if that's the right word, and have been for many years.


Thanks WreckerL. She does nave Irlen syndrome glasses but as with all teenagers won't wear them unless she gets a headache. Apart from her detest of English she flies with her school work and is very good at maths so it isn't a problem that holds her back. She is only doing 2 GCSE's at the moment due to finance not ability.


War Hero
I never knew I was dyslexic during my service, those around me, and especially read any reports may have known? But now I do understand it I met many in-service.

Autism & Dyslexia are different for everyone, and everyone is different, girls are most certainly different to boys as they can show emotions and empathy when boys tend not to. Unfortunately the only way is to apply when she is of age to join? Not sure a GP saying show tendencies, qualifies as a diagnosis, it is often very difficult to diagnose girls, and many would show quirks towards autism at times. The food and moods when hungry are typical, I have autism in my family, the boys especially when low on food can be a bit touchy, and so we always have snacks, within mins after food they are fully recharged.

It is known that Autism and Dyslexia can be affected by different light, common with both conditions is Irlen Syndrome, where light can affect the vision, or even make words move on the page.

@Ninja_Stoker may know the rules a bit better as a professional recruiter.


War Hero
Again, subject to qualified medical confirmation, my advice would be for her to register an expression of interest on the RN website, then obtain copies of her medical notes relation to the specific conditions mentioned. You can then put the medical notes in a sealed envelope with her name and dob on the outside, with the words "Protect Medical" written externally so that only a qualified healthcare professional can view them.

Write a brief covering letter, addressed to your local AFCO (bearing in mind even minors must still give their signed consent for parents to act on their behalf in medical issues) to request the enclosed medical records are forwarded to the Service Entry Medical Cell (SEMC) to determine the likelihood of medical suitability for entry into the service. They usually ring-up to advise and follow it up with a written response.

Under current regulations (November 2018) no allowances are made for dyslexia during selection as applicants must be able to accurately read, process and function to a minimal level in a stipulated time. The timed practice test on the RN website is virtually exactly the same as the real test. The practice test outcome pretty much matches the actual test, when first attempted. There's nothing to be gained repeatedly taking the same test to improve scores.

For autism, it depends whether the individual can function comfortably as a solid, communicative team player accepting of constant, unpredictable changes in their daily routine. If they can, the odds are they'll be OK.

A gluten intollerance, diagnosed by a GP is likely to be a significant issue with regard medical suitability as restricted diets with consequential medical implications simply cannot be catered for, unfortunately.


Thanks ninja_stoker we will go ahead with trying to get the gp notes.
Luckily she chooses a gf diet but doesn't have to eat one so that shouldn't be an issue.