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 recognize patterns and see trends in data. They can discover connections that others have missed.
Such strengths lend themselves to good problem solving abilities. They also have good verbal communication skills and are very detailed story-tellers. Dyslexic people can also bring to the workplace 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. Dyslexic employees can become more comfortable and efficient workers, and the business will reap the success that their unique talents provide.
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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 organized and tidy workspace in a quiet area will help to minimize distraction.
- Allow the use of noise-canceling 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 color 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.
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. By fostering a supportive and empathetic atmosphere, employees will feel more comfortable getting assistance without disclosing their dyslexia.
- Offer flexible working arrangements to provide employees with a more comfortable and accommodating work environment that suits their needs.
- Create opportunities for anonymous feedback to ensure employees feel comfortable sharing their opinion without disclosing personal information.
- Set up Employee Resource Groups or support networks to provide a safe space for employees to connect, share experiences and provide mutual support. 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 to all employees, without the need for disclosure. For example, Read&Write for Work.
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Assistive technology for employees with dyslexia
Assistive technology and digital tools work 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 all their colleagues. This creates equal opportunities, so all employees can be empowered to bring their full selves to work.
Assistive technology for people with dyslexia can include tools like spell-checking software, text-to-speech, screen masking, word prediction and read-aloud features.
What’s more, assistive technology isn’t just for neurodiverse employees. Although it may be a necessity for some, it can be beneficial across the company as a whole. It can also help other types of thinkers, like those 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.
Supports people who think, learn and work differently. Helps neurodiverse workforces to thrive.
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