1. Set up a mentoring schemeThis helps the workforce feel more comfortable talking about difficulties in the workplace. It can also help to subtly encourage those that may be struggling to come forward and ask for help. A mentoring programme doesn’t need to just be for those with dyslexia either, it can offer tailored advice and support for anyone who may be suffering with anxiety, mental health or any other form of learning difficulty in the workplace.
2. Create dyslexia friendly contentIf you recognise that an employee has dyslexia, use easily readable fonts such as Arial or Comic Sans. Don’t use small fonts and try to avoid italic where possible as this can cause letters to appear more crowded. Use headings to create structure and help employees navigate through content. Avoid background patterns or pictures that could easily act as a distraction from the text.
3. Adapt your communication styleYou should ask your team member their preferred method of communication. For example, if the individual is a visual learner you could highlight important points using a mind map or flow chart. Ask the individual what works best to ensure you get the most out of them. Remember, everyone works in different ways.
4. Training servicesThe British Dyslexic Association and Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre offer a range of services to help employers support anyone experiencing work based learning difficulties. Make sure you set aside budget to invest in resources to help aid people with dyslexia.
5. Raise awarenessIf harnessed correctly, traits associated with dyslexia can be extremely beneficial to any business or workplace. Why not run a dyslexia awareness course for all staff to clarify any misconceptions? Use a qualified and experienced dyslexia specialist who has experience training and tutoring in the work environment.
6. Alternative workspaceDyslexic workers can often find it hard to concentrate in a noisy and busy environment. Allow these employees to use an alternative workspace such as a meeting room to help them focus when they really need to. If this is not practical, then providing headphones or earplugs is a useful alternative.
7. Encourage the use of calendars and alarmsUsing calendars and alarms can help to track time in a more visual way. In turn, this will help employees stay on schedule and meet deadlines. You could use diary invites to remind them of an important deadline and try providing desk calendars too.
8. Diagnostic assessmentFinally, offering a diagnostic assessment for any staff that may be dyslexic will help you truly understand how best to support your team member. You can arrange a diagnostic assessment via theBDA. In some cases, CABA may be able to provide means tested financial assistance for those who are unable to fund a diagnostic assessment. Employers should create an open and honest environment to allow people to talk more freely about dyslexia and other learning difficulties. Organisations should accept that everyone works differently and must look toadapt to individual needs. This will not just help the individual but the whole organisation. After all, employees are more likely to perform and be more productive when they have the right support.
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