The 5 W’s of invisible dyslexia
This month we celebrate Dyslexia Awareness Week, 4 to 10 October 2021. At Texthelp, we believe everyone has the right to understand and be understood. That’s why we’re proudly teaming up with the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) to support this year’s theme, ‘Invisible Dyslexia’. We’re helping to raise awareness, increase visibility and remove the stigma that can cause serious mental health issues. Starting with this blog on the who, what, where, when and why of invisible dyslexia.
The Rose (2009) definition of dyslexia is:
“Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed.”
Ten percent of the population are believed to be dyslexic, but it is still often poorly understood.
As each person is unique, so is everyone's experience of dyslexia. It can range from mild to severe, and it can co-occur with other learning differences. It usually runs in families and is a life-long condition.
It is important to remember that there are positives to thinking differently. Many dyslexic people show strengths in areas such as reasoning and in visual and creative fields.
Why is this year’s theme invisible dyslexia?
As dyslexia itself isn’t visible, individuals with dyslexia often feel like their struggles are unseen. Dyslexia also too often goes hand in hand with other invisible challenges. People can struggle with their mental health and feel unsupported.
As part of Dyslexia Awareness Week, the BDA are helping people in the dyslexic community to be seen. They’re encouraging them to share their stories. So, we’d like you to meet Nikki, a Hair and Beauty student at Nottingham College. Nikki describes her experience at school:
“When I was at school and I had dyslexia there was no support. There was nothing in place, so I learned to manage. If I couldn’t spell the word I would avoid it, I’d work around the word I couldn’t spell.”
But with the right help, the strengths and talents of dyslexic people can really shine. Now Nikki is at college and has tools and support in place that help her achieve her full potential.
Just as students that require glasses grow up to be adults that require glasses, students that need supports for reading and writing need those same supports once they join the workforce. But, like the dyslexia itself, the stigma can also stay with them.
This is something to keep in mind within education and the workplace. Alongside reading and writing supports, organisation and study tools are also key. The great thing is that these are also tools that can help everyone achieve. Making these available to all students or employees can help remove the stigma of assistive technology.
The British Dyslexia Association has a full guide to Dyslexia Week, that is a great starting point. Check out their upcoming events and download their resource packs for education and the workplace.
Accessibility and inclusion is at the heart of our whole organisation and all our products. Our core purpose is to help people understand and be understood. We hold ourselves to very high standards. Whilst we already work hard to produce information that can be understood by everyone, we know there will always room for improvement. We have a plan to get to where we need to be and we thought we’d share it with you too.
Learn about supporting employees with dyslexia and unlocking the unique strengths that neurodiverse employees can bring, in our free guide.