Dyslexia Awareness Month

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Moving on from our focus on mental health, another area of concern for employers is often when they are told that an employee is dyslexic.

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month so it seemed fitting that we talk about dyslexia in the workplace.

According to the Dyslexia Association, around 10% of the population have dyslexia and will require additional support with reading, writing and numbers. Having a dyslexic husband and two sons who were diagnosed as dyslexic from an early age, I can fully appreciate the concerns that employers might have.

So let’s consider what being dyslexic is like for the employee and think about we can be more understanding of their situation.

With effective support a dyslexic employee can be a valuable asset to your team. The employee is likely to be protected under The Equality Act 2010 and so discriminating against a dyslexic employee is against the law and you will be required to make reasonable adjustments to help individuals with the condition to assist them overcoming any disadvantages caused by the condition.

So here are some low cost solutions that can be adopted to help these employees be more productive in the workplace.
  • Change their standard computer settings such as changing the colour of the background of Word documents to yellow or green rather than white
  • Use text to speech software so that large blocks of text can be read out loud.
  • If you find they are repeatedly making spelling errors, collect the words and ensure they are included into Word’s autocorrect so that their writing can be instantly improved
  • Consider using a dyslexia-friendly font such as Helvetica, Courier, Arial, Verdana and Computer Modern Uni-code. You can even install specially designed fonts such as Dyslexie or Open-dyslexic.
  • Provide a digital recording device rather than expect a dyslexic employee to take notes.
  • Make sure that any documents required for a meeting are distributed well in advance rather than just handed out during the meeting.
  • Provide another employee to proofread important documents that have been drafted by a dyslexic employee before finalising.
Employers can obtain help and advice from the Dyslexia Association in how to support dyslexic employees.

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