Studies show that approximately 10% of the population has a ‘specific learning difficulty’ of one kind or another. Many of us would put our hands up to recognising dyslexia as one of these. Most of us would assume, wrongly, that those with dyslexia just have a bit of trouble with reading and writing.
Dyslexia can mean having difficulty remembering information; processing information; planning work and structuring work. Dyslexics can find it difficult to concentrate in a noisy environment and frequently react badly to transitions or changes to their environment or working patterns. Sometimes applying for promotion, changing jobs or changes in personnel can cause anxiety levels to rise. Any employee who is anxious cannot perform well. Put a dyslexic in a situation where their difficulties are exposed and you make them very anxious indeed. If employers and employees can work to reduce the cause of the stress, the problems can be minimised.
On the plus side you are likely to find that those with dyslexia think in a very different way to most people so they can be good at adding breadth and creative thinking to any working environment. Richard Branson; Mohammed Ali; Robin Williams and Einstein are just a few of those who struggled at school with dyslexia but went on to achieve in various fields.
A recent survey showed that the majority of adults did not reveal that they were dyslexic at interview and consequently did not ask for any adjustments in the work place. Often, their difficulty only emerged on a performance or disciplinary matter; too late in the day. If the employee shares their information early and can suggest solutions for any difficulties encountered as a result of their learning difference, everyone is on board.
If, despite making a difference known, adjustments are unreasonably denied, for example extra time to take a test to secure promotion, then it is worth remembering that many people with dyslexia will come under the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 and can ask for redress for any discrimination suffered.
For more information contact any member of our Employment department.