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Dyslexia in the Workplace

Updated: Nov 21

Dyslexia affects around 1 in 5 people yet over half of all employers have little or no

understanding about the condition. Dyslexia is a genetic difference in the ability to learn and

process information which means learning, writing, spelling and reading can be challenging.


Cognitive profiles differ between a dyslexic and neurotypical person meaning that dyslexic

people think in a different way. Traditional benchmarking hinders dyslexic’s as it is often

measured against the things dyslexic’s naturally find more challenging. Just think about the

application process for a job - a written application form or CV is still the normal process for

applying.


Companies are becoming more aware of their legal responsibilities with regards to

reasonable adjustments to support dyslexic staff but for them to support an employee, the

employee first needs to disclose their dyslexia. Too many people suffer in silence with their

dyslexia, they don’t mention it on application forms, interviews or inductions, normally for

fear that they will be judged negatively and will not secure the job.


Companies need to create an environment where dyslexics know they will be supported and

train staff to notice the traits of dyslexia and how to start a conversation on the subject.

However, it is also the responsibility of the dyslexic employee to have the confidence to

share with their company too. By raising the awareness of dyslexia this will become easier

for employees to do. Whilst many people will have a professional dyslexia diagnosis there

are many who will have undiagnosed dyslexia as well.


Dyslexia affects everyone in different ways, it is unique just like each of us, however

common traits could include: -

• Language processing difficulties

• Short term memory issues

• Low self-esteem

• Trouble finding the right word or pronunciation of words

• Lower than average spelling, writing, grammar

• Slower reading


Dyslexia does come with challenges but it also comes with strengths. Many dyslexics have

an above average level of a combination of the skills below: -

• Creativity

• Problem-solving skills

• Communication skills

• Explorative skills

• Imagination

• High empathy, people skills

• Visualisation

• Strong reasoning

• Big picture and three-dimensional thinking

• Connections


What support an employee requires will differ for each person but it could include some

simple solutions e.g.

• Having a quiet place to work

• Sending documents for meetings ahead of schedule

• Encouraging the use of reminders, calendars

• Giving verbal and written instructions

• Artificial intelligence (AI) has a wide range of tools which can support a dyslexic

employee e.g., speech recognition software, text-to-speech software and mind

mapping software to name just a few.

• Adjusting computer settings so the background is not so bright white.


Companies do not have to bear the cost of these workplace adjustments themselves. There

are grants which companies can apply for to help support neurodiverse employees.


With wellbeing becoming more socially recognised it is vital for companies to think about

how they can help support their dyslexic and other neurodiverse employees. A happier

employee means increased productivity and performance, not to mention the positive PR for

the company around EDI.


If you would like to learn more about dyslexia and how to support your workforce please get

in touch. We are proud to be able to offer workplace talks either virtually or in person and be

able to offer tailor made coaching programs.


Do you know who in your organisation is dyslexic?


Help raise awareness around dyslexia and support our dyslexic staff fly higher than they first

thought possible.


By Kirsty Heap #thedyslexiccoach

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