How to help a person with Dyslexia at Work
People with dyslexia often have problems with reading and spelling. Some adults with dyslexia are fluent readers but their dyslexia may show in their writing, short-term memory, organisational skills, maths abilities and the speed and way that they process information. All of these may impact on their performance at work and the effect of dyslexia can worsen when an individual is experiencing stress.
Approximately 10% of the general population is affected by dyslexia to varying degrees. Some people with dyslexia have strengths in particular areas such as creativity; awareness of these strengths may benefit your organisation.
Dyslexia can prevent some people from gaining qualifications, accessing training or applying for promotions. By making your organisation dyslexia friendly, you could reduce stress, sick leave and even staff turnover.
Adjustments made for staff with dyslexia can improve motivation, loyalty and efficiency and benefit both customers and staff.
Here are 5 ways to help a dyslexic person in the workplace
1. If you have to write it down, do it correctly
The way information is presented can make a huge difference to dyslexic people who find reading difficult:
Do not use italics
Do not underline text
Do not use all capitals
Make the text bigger - 12 point or more - and well-spaced
Keep sentences short
Use bold to highlight things
2. Time and space
On the subject of distractions, dyslexic people may benefit from having their workspace as calm as possible, for example, away from doors, thoroughfares or constantly ringing phones.
Something as simple as a second screen for a person's computer will allow them to get rid of anything extraneous and allow them to focus on the task in hand.
3. Use technology
There are many tools that can help a dyslexic person.
All modern tablets, smartphones and computers come with a synthetic voice that can read out a document or web page, sparing someone the difficulty of reading it themselves. For help reading something on paper, special scanning pens can convert written words and turn them into audio.
Talking calculators and alarm watches can also help people who struggle with numbers or telling the time, and even something as simple as a good spellchecker can make someone's life easier.
4. Show and Tell
Dyslexic people can often cope better with verbal instructions than written ones, and need a task to be demonstrated physically, perhaps several times, rather than just described.
5. A second Pair of eyes
A computer spellchecker is one thing, but a human proof-reader is even better.
The support of their team can make all the difference to a dyslexic person's experience at work: everything from providing information to them in the correct format to checking key decisions before they are made.
Source: BBC news & British Dyslexic Association