TalentLearning & DevelopmentHow to manage dyslexia at work

How to manage dyslexia at work

Dyslexia is predicted to affect approximately 10% of the British population, according to the British Dyslexia Association (BDA). Subsequently, around 2.9 million workers are living with this learning difficulty, meaning it’s incredibly likely that a current or future employee will be dyslexic.

Understandably, revealing a learning difficulty can be a daunting prospect in the workplace and this anxiety can prevent those with dyslexia asking for help. This means behaviours can occasionally be misunderstood as a lack of ability, dedication and inattention. But, those with dyslexia bring as many strengths and qualities to a business, as non-sufferers do, which means it’s incredibly important to encourage people to speak up about it.

Most commonly, symptoms of dyslexia include struggling to formulate thoughts quickly enough to participate in conversations, to confusing words within sentences and letters within words. Not only that, but struggling to schedule work, meeting deadlines and being able to recollect and record information are frequent signs of dyslexia.

Recognising these signs and encouraging an open conversation about dyslexia, will ensure that those living with it, can reach their full potential and enjoy work, whilst feeling fully supported by their employers. To facilitate this, the wellbeing experts at CABA offer 10 ways in which leaders can support employees with dyslexia:

  1. Set up a mentoring scheme

This ensures that the workforce feel more comfortable talking about learning difficulties in the workplace, with the hope being to subtly encourage those that are struggling to come forward and ask for help. A mentoring programme can offer a range of tailored advice and support for anyone who may be suffering with anxiety, mental health or any other form of learning difficulty in the workplace, not just dyslexia.

  1. Diagnostic Assessment

To be able to best support your team member, diagnostic assessments would be truly valuable in understanding their specific needs. These can be arranged via the BDA.

  1. Create dyslexia friendly content

If you recognise that an employee has dyslexia, small changes can be made to help employees navigate through work content. This may mean using an easily readable font such as Arial or Comic Sans, as it’s important that you don’t use small fonts or italic which can cause letters to appear more crowded. It may also be useful to use headings to create structure and to avoid background patterns or pictures that could easily be a distraction from the text.

  1. Adapt your communication style

It’s worthwhile asking your team member their preferred method of communication. This is because if the individual is a visual learner you could work using a mind map or flow chart, to best get across important points. Remember, everyone works differently, so ask the individual what works best, to ensure you get the most out of them.

  1. Training services

To help employers support staff members who may experience work based learning difficulties, The Dyslexia Association offers a range of services to ensure that both parties are mutually benefitting. So, ensure you set aside enough budget to invest in resources to help aid people with dyslexia.

  1. Assistive technology

There are a number of technological devices that can make work life easier for those with dyslexia. For example, speech recognition software allows speech to be converted into text, and vice versa – cutting out the task of reading and writing which can often take much longer for a dyslexic employee.

  1. Raise awareness

Symptoms associated with dyslexia can seem like a hindrance at work, however, if harnessed correctly they can be extremely beneficial to any business. Why not run a dyslexia awareness course for all staff, using a qualified and experienced dyslexia specialist who has experience training in the work environment? This will help to clarify any misconceptions about dyslexia and help to make all employees feel comfortable in dealing with it.

  1. Alternative workspace

Loud and busy environments can make it hard for dyslexic workers to concentrate, so to help them, it can be beneficial to offer alternative work environments. For example, allowing these employees to use a meeting room, to help them focus when they really need to. If this is not possible, then providing headphones or earplugs can be a useful alternative.

  1. Encourage the use of calendars and alarms 

Dyslexics can benefit from seeing things more visually, so using calendars and alarms can help to track time in a more visual way. In turn, this will help employees stay on schedule, and help them to plan their day and week.  Also, the use of diary invites and desk calendars, can be used to remind them of important deadlines.

  1. Specialist stationery

Finally, traditional stationery is not always suitable for dyslexics. For example, black text on white paper can be problematic as the whiteness can be dazzling and make it harder to read. So, paper of softer tones like yellow or pink may be preferable. As well as thicker pens, like gel pens which allow a team member to better understand their writing.

Organisations need to accept that everyone works differently and must look to adapt to individual needs – because those with dyslexia will range in their abilities. It’s important that employers create an unrestricted and honest environment to allow their employees to talk freely about dyslexia and other learning difficulties. This will be desirable to both the individual and the whole organisation, because after all, employees are better able to perform and be more productive when they have the correct support.

Comments are closed.

What's Hot

HRD People Leadership Survey 2019

Leadership Development HRD People Leadership Survey 2019

5m
Is it right for leadership to ‘spy’ on employees? With Dave Ulrich

HR Technology Is it right for leadership to ‘spy’ on employees? With Dave Ulrich

7d Michael Hocking
Six tips to get your workforce mentally fit: HRD Podcast with Anji McGrandles, Founder, The Mind Tribe

HRD Live Podcasts Six tips to get your workforce mentally fit: HRD Podcast with Anji McGrandles, Founder, The Mind Tribe

1w HRD Connect
Embarking on a cultural journey: Interview with Anouk Geertsma, Director HR, EMA, Uber

HRD Summit EU Embarking on a cultural journey: Interview with Anouk Geertsma, Director HR, EMA, Uber

2m Louron Pratt
Building the first AI-enabled workforce: Charles Boutens, Founder, uman.ai

HRD Tech Founders Building the first AI-enabled workforce: Charles Boutens, Founder, uman.ai

5d Michael Hocking
Your Wellbeing Strategy Is Your Business Strategy: CABA

Health and Wellbeing Your Wellbeing Strategy Is Your Business Strategy: CABA

4w Michael Hocking

Related Articles

HR Distinction Spotlight: Learning and adapting with The Co-op

Learning & Development HR Distinction Spotlight: Learning and adapting with The Co-op

2w Louron Pratt
Empowering employees through learning and development: Interview with Elisabetta Galli, Global Head of Knowledge, Development and Talent Management, Santander

HRD Summit EU Empowering employees through learning and development: Interview with Elisabetta Galli, Global Head of Knowledge, Development and Talent Management, Santander

1m Louron Pratt
The crucial role of HR in digital transformation

Digital Transformation The crucial role of HR in digital transformation

2m Louron Pratt
Learning is key for the future workforce

Business Transformation Learning is key for the future workforce

2m Louron Pratt
Transforming workplace learning and development

HR Technology Transforming workplace learning and development

3m Sean Gilligan
The secrets of an exceptional Learning & Development team: Hannah Brindle, MD, Virtual College

Learning & Development The secrets of an exceptional Learning & Development team: Hannah Brindle, MD, Virtual College

4m Michael Hocking
Optimising Learning and Development with automation

Digital Transformation Optimising Learning and Development with automation

5m Louron Pratt
Understanding the future of learning with Royal Mail

Learning & Development Understanding the future of learning with Royal Mail

5m Louron Pratt