Imagine being able to solve problems quickly and having an intuitive approach to relationships. Imagine being a great communicator, an expert problem-solver and also being visually creative. Now imagine being discriminated against simply because you find it difficult to read and spell. Imagine what that could do to your confidence.
Dyslexia is very much a hidden disability. But it can be overcome with the right degree of support. Employers may also find that, given the opportunity, dyslexic employees have untapped potential in certain key areas of work.
Obstacles to Advancement
Joe Russo is dyslexic. He was classified a failure and has experienced the obstacles that can, unfortunately, come with it. He is now the founder of, nationally-recognised charity, The Enthusiasm Trust, based in Derby. He also advises the government on inclusion issues.
“For many people, the problems arising from having dyslexia begin when they are at school”, explains Joe. “They may fail at tests because of the heavy emphasis on being able to read and spell words correctly”.
Plenty of people do not regard school days as the best days of their lives and look forward to a better future as adults. All the more important then, that in the world of work, those with dyslexia are given the opportunity to advance and are treated with openness and inclusivity.
“The obstacles cut both ways, for the dyslexic individual, and for the employer, who might not understand the issues,” Joe says.
Many people with dyslexia are visual learners. They cope better with verbal instructions rather than written ones. They also prefer tasks to be demonstrated physically in order to learn how to do them.
“As an example, it makes sense to record meetings for dyslexic employees, rather than circulate written minutes”, Joe explains. “Modern devices such as tablets and mobile phones come with programmed voices that can read aloud written content. Technology is very adaptable in this area. You can also use cameras on mobile phones to store visual information”.
Other techniques that can help include using mind map diagrams to disseminate information and colour coding as a visual prompt.
Dyslexia is not an intellectual disability. Many dyslexics have a keen intelligence and achieve remarkable results. Notable dyslexic people include Sir Richard Branson, Albert Einstein and Muhammad Ali.
“It is important for employers to properly understand the difficulties dyslexic staff can face and also to realise the true potential many of these people may possess”
Joe Russo, Enthusiasm Trust