Managing Dyslexia at work
September 30, 2015
We all know a bit about dyslexia, but do you know that it comes under the Equality Act 2010. Do you also know that employers have a duty to help sufferers in the workplace?
This article will help you understand your responsibility towards any dyslexic people you may employ.
Government figures estimate that about 4% of the UK workforce has acute dyslexia, and that about 10% has some level of dyslexia. However, it is often only identified when difficulties at work have been misunderstood as performance related issues.
What are the key indicators that someone may be dyslexic?
*Poor and/or careless written documentation *Confused messages
*Deadlines regularly not met *Takes a long time to learn new skills
*Low self esteem *Appears stressed and/or anxious
*Performance does not seem to reflect potential
What can you do to help? Adjustments for one person can improve everyone’s working life and so benefit the whole of your business.
- You can refer them to an occupational psychologist, which HR180 can help you find, who will identify strengths and weaknesses and prepare a coping strategy for each individual; you can contact Dyslexia Action (www.dyslexiaaction.org.uk); or the British Dyslexia Association (www.bdadyslexia.org.uk).
- Offer support at work, e.g. regular 1:1s; help with prioritising and organising their workload, using calendars/diaries with deadlines clearly marked or electronic reminders; allowing regular breaks; agree SMART objectives and negotiate deadlines; possibly use professional training and coaching.
- Take advantage of technology, e.g. speech recognition packages, recording and note-taking equipment/software (e.g. dictaphone), spelling software, speaking dictionaries, organisational and planning software. You must be aware, however, that such aids need to be appropriate for each person which will be best identified by experts.
- Consider the set-up of their PC both in terms of the environment and its default layouts – font size no less than 11; typeface; colour, including background colour; left justified margin; increased spacing between lines.
- Review your practices, e.g. how accessible are your communications – do they need to be in large print or audio; induction and training sessions should include extra time and support to encourage learning – give training materials in advance, use bullet points, put important points in bold not italics.
- Regularly evaluate and review the support you are giving to ensure it is still effective. Dyslexia is complex and the number, type and severity of difficulties will vary so never assume or generalise. Also, the individual’s ability to manage their dyslexia will vary – any discussion about support strategies should consider what they feel they need.
- Encourage better understanding of dyslexia among your people so anyone suffering from dyslexia feels supported by their colleagues, team and the whole business.
Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.