Supporting employees with dyslexia in the workplace
Alongside challenges, dyslexia can also come with many strengths. For example, dyslexic minds process information visually. That means that they're often able to recognise patterns and see trends in data.
Dyslexic employees can also provide out of the box, original thinking. They're often able to look at tasks with a holistic and creative approach.
As employers, it’s vital to support our dyslexic employees. The reason why is two-fold: it empowers people and your business. Because when Dyslexic employees can become more comfortable in their workplace, they're able to provide their unique skills.
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- Innovative thinking
- Ability to simplify complexity
- Three-dimensional thinking
Dyslexic brains work differently from neurodiverse brains. They see the world in a different way, and with that comes ‘outside the box’, innovative thinking. This makes dyslexic people particularly good at creating new solutions to old problems, just as they’re used to doing in a neurotypical world. By providing unique perspectives, along with a natural curiosity, dyslexic employees can help businesses stand out.
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How to support dyslexic employees in the workplace
To harness the power of dyslexia strengths, it’s important to help dyslexic employees overcome challenges with the right adjustments. We’ve provided some examples of simple adjustments below. It might help you to kick-start the conversation:
- Consider desk location and storage facilities. An organised and tidy workspace in a quiet area will help to minimise distraction.
- Allow the use of noise-cancelling headphones to help block out distractions.
- Discuss the use of calendars, planners and alerts to support memory challenges
- Try not to impose strict time constraints so that dyslexic employees have enough time to read, process, and complete tasks.
- Explore the best method of communication for the employee. Clear communication and checking for understanding are important. This can be supported by using a mix of verbal, visual and written formats.
- Across all company correspondences, use easy-to-read fonts that help with dyslexia
- The glare of white backgrounds can make it difficult to read and process the information, so consider using colour alternatives for paper and computer screens.
- Offer the opportunity for regular one-to-one conversations. This can be with a line manager or neurodiversity champion. The goal is to ensure support as often as required.
- Explore digital tools like spell checkers, screen readers, and text-to-speech tools.
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Blog: 8 ways to support employees with dyslexia
It’s never been more important to create an inclusive workplace for employees. We gathered business leaders’ tips on what worked for them when supporting employees with dyslexia.
- Promote awareness and understanding with disability inclusion and awareness training for all employees. This will help the whole workforce know how to support neurodiverse employees.
- Offer flexible working arrangements so employees can work in a way that suits their needs.
- Create opportunities for anonymous feedback to ensure employees feel comfortable sharing their opinion.
- Set up Employee Resource Groups to provide a safe space for employees to connect and share experiences. This helps create a supportive network.
- Provide proactive accommodations that can benefit all employees, such as assistive technology. Having this option can support dyslexic employees without the need to disclose.
- Provide tools that promote different ways of thinking, communicating and working, without the need for disclosure. For example, Read&Write for Work.
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Assistive technology for employees with dyslexia
Assistive technology works alongside neurodiverse employees to help them work to their full ability. By providing a range of tools, employees can choose what works for them and work on par with their colleagues. This creates an inclusive working environment, where everyone is given equal opportunities to succeed.
Assistive technology for people with dyslexia can include tools like spell-checking software, text-to-speech, screen masking, word prediction and read-aloud features.
And assistive technology isn’t just for neurodiverse employees. It can also help employees with low literacy, and those with English as a second language. It also means that employees don’t have to feel pressured to disclose that they’re neurodiverse. They can simply make use of the available tools.
Supports people who think, learn and work differently. Helps neurodiverse workforces to thrive.
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