Dyslexia awareness in the workplace

Under the Equality Act 2010 an employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace to ensure that a disabled person can do their job effectively. Some 10 per cent of the UK population is affected by dyslexia, so it is likely you will have dyslexic people in your workforce.

Alongside the legal requirements there are many benefits to raising the awareness of dyslexia in the workplace and creating a dyslexia friendly work environment. It establishes an inclusive culture for all your employees and ensures that individuals can use their strengths, such as atypical problem-solving and creativity. It means that you are striving to support your staff, to get the best from them and the best for your company.

  • What steps can you take?

    Creating a dyslexia friendly workplace doesn't have to involve expensive interventions.

    It often just takes some thought, and small changes can make a dramatic difference.

    Things to consider:

    • Staff awareness of dyslexia, and the challenges and strengths it presents.

    • A flexible and supportive approach.

    • Introduction of assistive technology.

    • Changing communication methods i.e. printing company-wide information on different coloured paper, or in a larger font, or available as an audio file.

    A dyslexia friendly workplace can reduce stress, increase morale and motivation. This is turn can have an impact on reducing staff turnover and sickness leave.

  • Organisations that can help

    There are organisations which provide training for:

    Employees - to help individuals develop their own skills and make changes to enable them to work as independently as possible. These can also benefit managers and HR Personnel.

    Organisations – to help identify issues, to assist in the development of a code of practice for working with dyslexic individuals.

    British Dyslexia AssociationThe BDA offer assessments, training and support to help businesses and employers support their dyslexic staff, and help them to achieve their full potential at work. They can also provide bespoke support sessions for employees.

    BDA publication: Dyslexia in the Workplace.Available to purchase, this book covers the nature of dyslexic difficulties, and also describes associated difficulties, such as dyspraxia, ADHD, dyscalculia, Asperger's syndrome, visual stress. It explains the various types of assessment that can be done – screening, diagnostic, workplace needs – and gives a detailed account of the help and support that can be provided to a dyslexic employee in the form of training, technology, and reasonable adjustments. It also covers legal issues.

    Helen ArkellHelen Arkell can help you by providing advice and guidance from a specialist who has experience working with employers and employees.