Supporting Dyslexia

Originally published by National Police Autism Association as a guest blog, Texthelper Janice offers advice on how to be more dyslexia-friendly and connect with existing staff.

Laptop screen showing the National Police Autism Association web page

It’s estimated that as many as 1 in 10 of the population have dyslexia, however the ‘blue light’ sector is thought to have a much higher rate as the classic dyslexic strengths of innovation and practical skills are essential in emergency situations.

Work-related stress is a major concern for police forces, indeed the number of police officers off work with stress has risen by 58% in the last two years – shocking fact.

Dyslexic employees face particular challenges that often lead to work-related stress.

They, or their superior, may be unaware that the issue is related to their dyslexia; meanwhile the performance management process marches on and relationships suffer.

Becoming a dyslexia-friendly organisation might not be the easiest journey, but it’s one that will bring huge benefits for the Force and its staff. By becoming more dyslexia-friendly you’re not only recognising the unique talents of existing dyslexic employees, but encouraging recruitment from a wider talent pool which reflects the diverse range of people you serve and the communities in which you are based.

So what can you do to connect with existing staff and be more dyslexia-friendly?

  • Have nominated dyslexia champions – ’go-to’ people who understand the condition and can offer support to staff.
  • Educate higher ranks about the effects of dyslexia and encourage them to look for signs in staff in order to support them.
  • Assistive technology can offer much needed literacy support to dyslexic staff, as well as being used as a general literacy and productivity-improver for all staff. Think about installing assistive software on all your computers, laptops and devices, where it can be used by everyone without singling out dyslexic staff.
  • Communicate to staff that you’re a Dyslexia-Friendly Force and let everyone know that assistive technology support is available. This is particularly important during recruitment and induction processes – and as part of an ongoing staff wellbeing programme.
  • Be proud to be a Dyslexia-Friendly Force – get on social media and let the world know!

Texthelp are working with many blue-light organisations to help provide an inclusive and strategic solution to literacy issues including dyslexia, cognitive disorders and mild visual impairments.

If you’d like to know more please get in touch.