Dyslexia is a literacy and language difficulty. It affects approximately 10% of the population.
- Problem solver
- Can focus well on tasks where there is interest
- Good communicator
Challenges described by some people:
Individuals with Dyslexia may have difficulties with reading, writing and spelling, understanding written text.
The specific areas that are challenging for every person will vary considerably from person to person.
These may include:
- Reading slowly passages of written text
- Needing to re-read information
- Avoiding being in a situation where you have to read aloud in front of others
- Making spelling errors e.g. in emails, texts, reports
- Difficulty taking notes in meetings
- Difficulties writing and structuring documents
- Difficulties remembering a sequence of instructions
- Making mistakes when copying notes
- Taking longer to remember new vocabulary e.g. in a new work setting
- Some people may also have difficulties with organisation and planning
- Difficulties when dealing with maps, charts and tables
- Losing the way to unfamiliar places
Support in the workplace
- Provide some workplace staff training, especially for line managers, to know something about neurodiversity so that it is seen as a positive part of every work place.
- Consider that not only your employees may have dyslexia but also customers will do so as well and think about how you can support all.
- Discuss setting up an Access to Work assessment so that specific guidance can be given for the person and in the context of the work setting.
- Consider coaching support if required to embed processes in place and if changes occur in the job itself.
- Recognise that at times of change such as promotion, or a move to a different work setting that adjustments may need to be reconsidered in line with the ‘new job description’.
- Are there ‘champions’ or peers in your workplace that can provide some support and guidance?
- Discuss what adjustments does the person thinks they may need or have helped them before.
- Organisation and time management may be two areas that need support for some people. Meet regularly for short meetings to set priorities and to monitor progress. This can help to limit problems escalating.
- Use an easy to read font, such as Arial, Verdana, Comic Sans and size of 12+.
- Can templates of reports be provided to allow the person to enter information and reduce the amount of text.
- E-mail, colour code and / or underline important text.
- Create a list of words and terms used specifically for that the work setting/your organisation.
- Allow more time to read information given to the person. Consider the need to explain the meanings of words if they are not clear.
- Proofreading software can be of great assistance in checking for errors as the software identifies spelling and grammatical errors e.g. ‘Ginger’ or ‘Ghotit’ are two examples.
- Text to speech software (built into lots of computers) can allow the person to hear what they have written and can help them pick up on errors. This can also be used for any important documents that have a lot of text that are important to ‘read’ as a part of the job e.g. health and safety documentation.
- Let them know/discuss if they need to present information in front of others e.g. writing on a white board, so they can prepare or provide handouts.
- Demonstrate what is expected rather than assume the person will know or ask.
- Encourage the use of a web-based diary system and getting the person to set themselves alarms as reminders when work needs to be completed.
- Ask if background noise is distracting and allow head phones to either cut out noise or to listen to music etc. if possible.
- Avoid asking the person to read out aloud in front of others or present ideas without pre-warning and preparation.
- In meetings, where possible, circulate minutes/notes after the meeting as the person may find it harder to listen, participate and take notes.
- Be aware the person may be quite anxious if they are making mistakes with reports/emails and then the anxiety can impact on work. Be encouraging and supportive, where possible and seek solutions.
Getting the best for yourself
- Think about what adjustments you need or have helped you before so you can be clear of your needs.
- If recognising spelling errors is problematic then consider using proofing software and text to speech software so it can suggest where errors have been made, and also allowing you to hear what you have written.
- If you have to complete reports as part of your job and this is hard for you to do, then think about asking if a template can be created with headings etc and examples of what is expected of you.
- Speech To Text (STT) software can help if you have good oral skills and know what to say but have difficulty with spelling it.
- Learn to use autocorrect which is in Microsoft Office, especially if you use words you misspell often or specific to the work you are in.
- Consider using an IPAD or tablet may be useful as they are light and portable and can carry most of the software you made need with a portable keyboard.
- Consider if your organisation and time management can be improved. You will need to practice these skills to embed best practice. This can take some time to ensure this becomes automatic.
- Ask for regular short meetings to set priorities and to monitor progress with your line manager to help stay on task.
- Use a diary system to set alarms as reminders when work needs to be completed.
- Consider using a digital recorder or ‘Note Taking’ pen for meetings so that you can listen back afterwards to the key points made.
- Put ALL work and home tasks into an online system as soon as you get them and that this can synchronise with your phone and computer so it is always with you.
- Ask for information to be emailed/written down as well spoken where possible.
- If you are not sure of instructions being given, ask them to be repeated.