Accommodating dyslexia in the workplace

Relaxation training to help them approach difficult tasks in a calm manner, thereby improving his efficiency. Assertiveness training to develop self-confidence and to enable them to seek support from their employer and co-workers as needed.

Support should also focus on the development of self esteem and self confidence in the workplace.

Accommodations can help people with learning disabilities do their work well, even when their disability gets in the way of doing the work.

Accommodations can include variations in: work space and equipment needed to do the task; communication of the work; the tasks themselves; and the time and place that the work is done.

Structured support to improve their literacy skills, e.g., reading for comprehension, planning and organisation of written work. Structured support to help them compensate for specific difficulties such as poor memory, organisational skills, sequencing skills and hand-eye co-ordination 3.

The use of structured, multisensory teaching during pre-employment or on the job training 4.

Dyslexic difficulties, however, can be alleviated, managed, and accommodated in the workplace.

The first essential step is to recognise them for what they are.

This may cause problems taking in long reports or following lengthy discussions.When entering the workforce from school, it would be useful for the guidance counsellor and/or the pupil’s year-head/tutor to spend time helping the pupil with dyslexia to identify strengths that could be exploited in employment and identifying specific characteristics that may cause difficulties.Many of the difficulties associated with dyslexia are situational so the work context is of crucial importance. It is important to consider job requirements and the difficulties experienced by the individual and to attempt to match these two factors.Workplace difficulties caused by a poor short term memory may include: · taking notes in meetings · following discussions · following oral instructions · taking telephone messages · break numbers and words into chunks · read sentences slowly and methodically · try to identify the central theme of each paragraph you read · request repeats or written back-up for instructions · ask for instructions to be given in visual form, e.g.flow charts · use set formats for telephone messages · use visual symbols, mind maps or pictures as cues and reminders · tape record instructions / lectures / meeting · take regular rest breaks · do relaxation exercises · use coloured highlighters to track important information or note deadlines · use technology to assist with planning, organising and writing tasks Workplace difficulties caused by poor sequencing and structuring may include: · filing documents / retrieving files · following work protocols · writing letters and memos · structuring reports · presenting ideas clearly in oral interactions / presentations · carrying out tasks in an efficient, logical way · dealing with a varied workload · getting the times and places of meetings wrong · missing appointments · failing to prioritise / missing deadlines · never having the right papers To self-manage the difficulties caused by poor sequencing and structure: · read words and sentences bit by bit · skim text to get an overview before reading for detail · use alphabet cards · colour code columns and rows of figures · colour code instructions / protocols · colour code files and filing trays, e.g., use red for urgent work · clearly label files and filing trays · keep workspace tidy · plan daily, weekly and monthly action lists · keeping a calendar in sight · leave some time each day to deal with emergencies / unexpected tasks · at the beginning of each day review the action plan for that day · at the end of each day check what has / hasn’t been done · pre-plan essays and reports · pre-plan oral interactions / presentations · pre-plan tasks, and split them into sections / stages · work one step at a time Workplace difficulties caused by perceptual and movement problems may include: · using machines such as photocopiers, faxes · entering data on a computer / calculator · copying down figures correctly and in the proper columns · remembering where things have been put · taking messages · using a date stamp · keeping papers in order · carrying trays, e.g., of coffee mugs To self-manage the difficulties caused by perceptual and movement problems by: · use a ruler to keep place on page · photocopy text onto coloured paper · colour-mark layout of tables of numbers · systematically scan each part of graphs, charts, tables of numbers · keep operating instructions for fax machine, etc.

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