How to Better Support Dyslexia in the Workplace

How to Better Support Dyslexia in the Workplace, Caption.Ed

Most people hide their dyslexia in the workplace. Kate Griggs–CEO and Founder of the charity Made By Dyslexia–says as many as three-quarters conceal it from employers. But with such low rates of disclosure and barriers to doing so, employers can be doing more to help staff disclose their dyslexia. 

So, if you’re a workplace leader in the Diversity and Inclusion space this article is for you. It aims to offer a choice of ideas that you can use to improve rates of dyslexia in the workplace.

Which Problems Arise when Managing Dyslexia in the Workplace?

Before we get into some ideas, let’s take a look at some of the problems people with dyslexia can face in the workplace.    

  • Unfair treatment from a lack of awareness: Managers and senior staff often lack awareness of dyslexia. And this can lead to unfair judgements at performance reviews. While this is an obvious barrier for staff with dyslexia, research shows reasonable adjustments lead to more positive and significant contributions from these staff members.

“…a little bit slower than the other staff and sort of needed to pick up the pace and she needed to work on the interpretation of briefs a little bit better…”

Performance review feedback from a manager who doesn’t know their employee has dyslexia
  • Low rates of disclosure: 80% of students leave school without a dyslexia diagnosis. And while more than 6 million UK workers have dyslexia, only 1 in 4 staff tell their employers about it.
  • Information overload: Unclear priorities, email overload, and long meetings can all challenge the thinking of someone with dyslexia. They can also increase feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.
  • Lower self-esteem: One out of two children with dyslexia has lower self-esteem than the average. And this can continue into the workplace. 
  • Needing more time: Employees with dyslexia can struggle to read text-dense emails and may find company acronyms too difficult to decode. They also often need extra time on reading and writing tasks and to compose emails. 

What are Other Organisations Doing to Support Dyslexia in the Workplace?

Last year, Made by Dyslexia made groundbreaking changes for people with dyslexia. They influenced LinkedIn to feature the term ‘Dyslexic Thinking’ as a skillset. And they encouraged to include Dyslexic Thinking as an official entry in the dictionary

Through the support of celebrity ambassadors and entrepreneurs, their campaign has empowered staff with dyslexia to claim their right to the label of Dyslexic Thinking. And with it, gain better opportunities and recognition. 

Video from Made By Dyslexia showing how to add ‘Dyslexic Thinking’ as a skillset on LinkedIn, presented by Richard Branson

How to Support Someone With Dyslexia in the Workplace

So what could you do, as a workplace leader, to make a positive change in your own context for people with dyslexia? Here are some things to consider. 

Show Acceptance of Dyslexic Thinking

Dyslexic Thinking is a new term. And not everyone will understand it. Staff will need training to recognise and accept the meaning of the term which defines as: 

“An approach to problem solving, assessing information, and learning, often used by people with dyslexia, that involves pattern recognition, spatial reasoning, lateral thinking, and interpersonal communication.”

By demonstrating an understanding of dyslexia in their workplace, organisations can create more inclusive workplaces. And ones where individuals will feel more comfortable revealing their dyslexia. 

Offer Workplace Training

While actions such as reasonable adjustments are vital to the wellbeing and productivity of staff, so too is cultivating an environment where staff feel encouraged to open up. Carrying out formal workplace training is an effective way to raise awareness levels with current staff and encourage better rates of disclosure. 

Dyslexia Matters is a good example of training providers. They offer online learning platforms for staff to carry out training in their own time, in any location. Courses are affordable and bespoke to meet the needs of specific training requirements. And with courses starting at £40, it’s worth considering.  

Use Assistive Technology

The need for assistive technology (AT) is growing. And by 2030, the WHO estimates more than 2 billion people will need at least one piece of AT. So while staff with dyslexia can face several barriers at work, AT offers a convenient way to overcome them. 

Caption.Ed is an easy-to-use captioning and note-taking AT tool designed by people who have dyslexia. By adding live captioning to internal and remote meetings–including via Zoom and MS Teams–Caption.Ed offers accurate, multilingual, and subject-specific terminology that improves focus and language comprehension. 

With a live transcript at hand, staff with dyslexia can better focus during longer meetings. But they can also use the note-taking feature to clarify acronyms, subject-specific terminology, and any spoken words they missed.  

Make it a Competitive Advantage 

Microsoft, Google, and GCHQ all target neurodivergent individuals to gain a competitive advantage in their fields. This is often because neurodivergent staff–with skillsets such as Dyslexic Thinking–can offer new or different ways of thinking that serve their business needs. 

Pattern recognition and spatial thinking can lead to new discoveries and original ideas for companies. In particular, this can benefit 3D and UX design, software engineering, and any need to develop new scientific or engineering approaches. 

Plus, a way to recognise the positive aspects of dyslexia in the workplace is to equip senior management or C-Suite with enough data to promote it in their annual reviews and at the board level. 

Subscribe to Caption.Ed and make Dyslexia a Normal Part of the Workplace

People with dyslexia have special skills that others can overlook. And staying focused during long meetings, struggling with terminology, and needing extra time to process information can lead to stigma. 

But companies who install Caption.Ed let their staff improve concentration and language comprehension levels. And by handling meeting notes and minutes, Caption.Ed helps staff with dyslexia to focus on the conversation and come back to things they’ve missed. By generating an instant transcript, staff can clarify points on their own notes. But also, users can program new or domain-specific terminology into the tool for staff and let staff digest notes in their own time.

With an easy ability to record meetings, add instant captioning and transcripts, and users to add their own notes and edits, Caption.Ed is the perfect tool to help you embrace dyslexia in the workplace. Talk to our team today to discuss your needs and improve your rates of disclosure.