Coping with Dyslexia in the workplace
In the modern world dyslexia in the workplace is not a problem for the vast majority of employers, most are very supportive. An employer’s main concern is whether or not a person can do their job properly, in a timely and efficient manner.
Coping with dyslexia in the workplace will generally mean you have to spend more time on some things. This is why it is so important to become a master of prioritisation. Make a list of the most important things each day, so you don't waste time?
Make a personal assessment:
In order to be successful you need to assess your strengths and weaknesses as a dyslexic person.
To develop coping strategies you need to ask yourself two questions:
- How does dyslexia affect you?
- What specific work tasks does it disrupt?
Is it difficult and time consuming to write emails and other documents?
Or is it a problem to take phone messages?
Below are a variety of strategies for coping with dyslexia in the workplace. However remember a good coping strategy is simply anything that helps you overcome a weakness.
- Reading Documents: If a document is of no particular importance simply read the first line of each paragraph. If the first line is of no interest move on to the next paragraph.
- If a document is very important try to find the time to read it at lunch or outside of work.
- Written documents: It is a necessity for written documents in the workplace to be clear and understandable. Plan your writing out so you know exactly what you want to say. Keep sentences short and to the point (avoid rambling). No one wants to waste time reading unnecessarily long and unclear documents.
- Use bullet points to again make the overall message clearer and more understandable.
- If you misspell a word so extremely that even the spell checker cannot correct it try typing the word or phrase into Google. It has a very effective spell checker.
- Always take the time to read over written work. There is free text-reading software called Natural Reader, click here to go to the download page. It’s great for checking important documents.
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- Reading aloud: There is only one coping strategy for this, practice, practice, and more practice. However even in most office jobs there is generally no reason for a person to read aloud. These days it is seen as more professional to give presentations from memory.
- Taking messages over the phone: Ask yourself what part of a message do you generally takedown incorrectly? If you have a habit of misspelling surnames write them down before you make a note of the first name. Try to spell it out but don’t be afraid to ask. If you type a name into Google it will generally give you the correct spelling.
- Don’t waste your time writing irrelevant information. Only take down the most important points. Read the details of the message back to the person to make sure you have all the essential information.
- Efficiency: Good Planning is essential for coping with dyslexia in the workplace. Always plan out the fastest and most effective way to get your work done. Spend a couple of minutes at the start of each day planning, so you can get everything done efficiently.
- Scheduling: This, again, is all about efficiency and planning, what is the quickest and most logical way to get the day’s tasks done? Take a minute to think back to the schedule when faced with unforeseen problems.
- Memory: It may be very annoying for an employer if you forget to do things when asked. Therefore always write everything down, either on post-its or on a to-do list. The most important thing, though, is to get into the habit of constantly referring back to your notes. A note is useless if you never look at it.
- Maths: In this day and age there is no reason why a person in any profession should not be allowed to use a calculator.
At the end of the day the vast majority of employers will not care if you are dyslexic. An employer is simply concerned about the value you bring to the workplace. It is important that dyslexia does not prevent you from performing any of the requirements of your job.
Coping with dyslexia in the workplace can make the job role more challenging, but ultimately more satisfying as well.
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