Working with Dyslexia
Did you know our Director Katherine is dyslexic? Yes, she works with content day in, day out, where an eye for detail is paramount and typos can really have a negative effect on brands. She has dyslexia, but this hasn’t held her back from achieving great things, and it shouldn’t hold you or your employees back either.
We’ve put together this guide of ways you can improve the working environment for anyone with dyslexia within your business (some of these suggestions may just help everyone!)
The aim of the game here is to minimise the challenges that might arise from an individual’s dyslexia that would impact them at work, and make the most of their strengths! There’s no ‘one size fits all’ policy here; it all depends on their needs and their job role.
Important things to consider:
- The nature of their dyslexia – what tasks/areas challenge them the most? This could be found in a diagnostic assessment, but there’s no need for the individual to have one before receiving adjustments to their working environment.
- The requirements of their job role – a Workplace Needs Assessment should be carried out. This is an impartial assessment carried out at work by a qualified dyslexia specialist.
- The working environment and any impact this may have on the employee’s performance
- Whether training is needed and any requirements needed for that to take place.
The joy of living in a digital age is that there are plenty of products available to help minimise the challenges experienced by dyslexics at work. Here are some examples:
Text to Speech software
Products that will read electronic documents to you will save time and confusion in the workplace. Some are free, some cost money, all will help in some way. Some software has additional features such as proofreading and screen tinting, or even allows you to take a photo of a document with a smartphone and have it read aloud to you. Invaluable.
You can see the list of tried and tested products from The Dyslexia Association here.
Also, Apple and most other smartphones have text to speech functionality built in. Just turn it on in your Accessibility settings.
Speech to Text software
If you’re better at communicating verbally rather than putting your words down on paper, speech to text software can be a gamechanger. Using built-in functionality on mobile devices (such as Siri) or using a dedicated programme on your computer which can also link to a dictaphone, this can be such a relief for those who struggle with spelling.
These will minimise visual stress, including headaches, blurred text, contrast discomfort or the struggle to keep their place in lines of text. On computers, smartphones and tablets you can change the background colours to make text easier to read. There are also physical Irlen Cling wraps you can place on your screens to change the colour, or apps and websites that adjust to suit the time of day and help reduce eye strain. We like f.lux.
Prefer the old school way?
Traditional dictionaries are not user friendly for dyslexics – you have to already know how to the spell the word to find it! If you struggle with accurate spelling, we love the ACE Spelling Dictionary. By sounding out the tricky word, this genius dictionary will point you in the right direction to your correct spelling.
These are just some of the ways you can make working with dyslexia easier for your employees and more productive for your business. For more information, visit The Dyslexia Association’s wealth of resources.
What do you use to help with your dyslexia at work? Any invaluable tips? Let us know via @OhSoSavvySocial on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.