Supporting employees with dyslexia

World Dyslexia Awareness Day - 4th October 2019

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Health Assured team

18 September 2019

Dyslexia International estimates that between 5-10% of the global population experience dyslexia, which equates to around 700 million people worldwide.

With World Dyslexia Day and Dyslexia Awareness Week fast approaching on the 4th and 7th October respectively, employers are being encouraged to refresh themselves on the effects of dyslexia and the best methods on how to support employees living with the learning disability.

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a very specific learning difficulty that mainly affects the ability to learn, read and spell. It is important to be aware of the fact that dyslexia does not reflect upon an individual’s cognitive abilities and it is not related to intellectual capacity or performance in other areas.

Dyslexia is recognised as a disability under the Equality Act 2010, which means that employers have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that no one diagnosed with dyslexia is placed at a disadvantage in comparison to other employees.

As 10% of the UK and ROI population are affected by dyslexia and at least 4% of that figure being at the severe end of the dyslexia continuum, it is inevitable that this will include staff and colleagues in the workplace. This means that an awareness of dyslexia in the workplace is crucial to creating a supportive and accepting environment.

In this guidance, we have listed a few suggestions to help you support any employees that are living with dyslexia, they include:

Early support

If an employee discloses that they are dyslexic, it should be recognised immediately; an assessment is not crucial but may be recommended, as the impact of dyslexia in the workplace varies considerably.

Regular catch-ups

One to one support and regular wellbeing checks with your employees is also recommended. During these meetings, you can discuss what the employee feels they may need to support them in terms of adjustments.

If the employee has had their diagnosis for a long period, it is likely that they will have already developed coping strategies, which can be implemented. They may also know immediately what adjustments they need personally, which they could advise you to put into place.

Workplace adjustments

Reasonable adjustments are the steps taken to help an individual gain the most of their strengths and minimise the challenges that they might experience as a result of their dyslexia.

The adjustments that can be put in place vary and if the employee is unsure then this is where a workplace assessment may help. The adjustments could include, a diary to help organisation, coloured overlays to aid reading, coloured papers with accessible fonts, specialised computer software, memory aids e.g. a voice recorder, providing training material in advance and in alternative formats and allowing extra time or adjusted targets.

With the right adjustments in place, the effects of dyslexia can be minimised and in most instances, any barriers faced can be overcome with the right kind of help and support.

Individuals with dyslexia often have strengths in reasoning, visual and creative fields, meaning that they can provide skills that make them extremely valuable employees.

Discover how an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) can help you employees with dyslexia in the workplace.

If you would like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Health Assured

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