One in 10 people have Dyslexia – that’s approximately 3.3 million people in the UK workplace. The chances are that someone in your organisation has Dyslexia.  This Dyslexia Awareness Week, we wanted to offer you some practical tips to raise awareness and promote inclusive behaviour in your workplace.

“But No-one I Know Has Dyslexia”

Just because people haven’t disclosed their diversity does not mean that it’s not present, and even if you don’t know if there is anyone in your organisation with Dyslexia, ADHD or any other Neurodivergence, that shouldn’t stop you from creating celebrations and learning events! 

Acknowledging and celebrating differences might be the catalyst that helps people disclose what they’ve been hiding; to open up because now they know that they're welcome in your teams.

You’ll also be showing your people how to support people they meet out with their workplace – friends, family, or clients – who have neurodiverse conditions and how to be inclusive and supportive in all aspects of their lives.

How Do I Know if Someone Has Dyslexia?

Unless they tell you, you probably won’t know.  Dyslexia is not linked to intelligence or education; it occurs regardless of gender, age, ability, or ethnicity and in all walks of life.  Challenges with reading, writing, and spelling may not be visible in adults, as most will have developed good coping strategies. However, tasks that require these skills will require more time and effort than might be expected, and the impact this has on an individual can often go unseen.

How Can I Support People with Dyslexia in My Workplace?

Literacy challenges can impact an individual’s confidence and self-esteem, so ensuring that everyone in your organisation knows they are valued is the first step.

Your goal is to demonstrate inclusive behaviours to all members of your organisation, and avoid negative responses, like patronising or micro-managing, when people do disclose their differences.

Some simple steps might include:

  1. Creating well-being passports to allow people to talk openly about what they need and any reasonable adjustments that may work for them.
  2. Consider things that will help your team universally, like making sure printed materials are easy to read, or adding commonly misspelled words to the company’s spelling and grammar list.
  3. Celebrating more diverse points in the calendar – whether religious or diverse awareness days – to make more people feel welcome.

Let’s Get Practical

Here are some things that we do at Connect Three to help our Neurodiverse learners succeed:

  1. Offer Help Before Someone Asks
    When we provide joining instructions for people attending our training, we always invite people to let us know anything that we could do to make things more accessible and inclusive for them.  If people tell us if they have Dyslexia, what type they have, and therefore what support they need, we can be there to support them.  There is no blanket “one-size-fits-all” approach, but we are happy to flex to suit our learners.
  2. Offer Alternatives
    While we ensure that if we use slides, none of them are text-heavy, we also reassure people that we’ll talk through everything on the slide, so they should not feel pressured to read them.  We provide audio options and different versions of training materials, for instance, we provide versions of our slides with light backgrounds and dark versions so that people can choose what is most suited to their needs.
  3. Keep Communications Short and Give Plenty of Time
    We keep email communication short, and if it’s a long email with lots of necessary information, we say up front “This is a long email, but don't feel pressured to read all of it right now, here is the summary so you know the key points.”  We also make sure things are sent well in advance so that people can absorb the information at their own pace.
  4. Offer Check Points
    We offer 1-to-1 time with people before programmes start, so we can learn more about them and settle them into the learning.  We also follow up afterwards to ensure that any information delivered was done in a way that was accessible for them.

If you need more help with implementing Diverse & Inclusive strategies in your workplace, then please get in touch with me.  I’m Katy, Connect Three’s Lead EDI Consultant and I’ll be happy to talk to you about what we can do to help you.