Managing Dyslexia in the Workplace

At the May 2016 London Adult Dyslexia Support Group Conference, many of the speakers discussed what it’s like to have dyslexia at work. Jo Todd spoke about how dyslexia can be an asset within workplaces, but only if there is an environment to facilitate it.

It is estimated that in the UK at least 15% of the population access and process information in a non-typical way. Employers may not understand the processing differences in their employees and are therefore failing to meet the needs of their workforce. This can lead to a lack of engagement, support, and breakdown in working relationships.

Equality Act

“Under the Equality Act of 2010, everyone should receive equal treatment in access to employment regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage, and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.”

Managing Dyslexia in the Workplace

Who enforces the act within a place of employment? Dyslexia Association of London suggests that it should be split between the employee(s) and employer, as well as the overall business organisation.

As an individual with Dyslexia, it is your job to ensure your ‘learning profile’ 

How it will affect your needs in the workplace? Do you understand your strengths and weaknesses?

Common Strengths 

  • Problem solving skills
  • Empathy
  • Creative ability
  • Perseverance
  • Strong verbal communication

Common Weaknesses

  • Literacy skills
  • Speed of processing
  • Weak short-term memory
  • Lack of confidence
  • Organisation

Employer Responsibility

Your employer should have an understanding of how the Equality Act relates to dyslexia and make workplace adjustments accordingly. This includes the recruitment process, and training as well as day-to-day tasks and appraisals.

Creating a better understanding across an organisation will help with the sense of belonging, allowing employees to feel valued and more trusting towards colleagues. A lack of support can build an environment where dyslexic employees become more insular and alienated which can cause them to lose self-esteem.  An organisation-wide approach to raising awareness about dyslexia at work guarantees an opportunity for fulfillment of employees’ needs and can aid in challenging the society’s attitude towards dyslexia.