Updated: Nov 21, 2022
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
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: -
• Problem-solving skills
• Communication skills
• Explorative skills
• High empathy, people skills
• Strong reasoning
• Big picture and three-dimensional thinking
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
By Kirsty Heap #thedyslexiccoach