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Dyslexia in the workplace: Simon’s story

Category: Hidden Disabilities

Simon Magnus is the artistic director of arts charity Root Experience. He’s also dyslexic. He told the BBC more about his experience of developing his career, alongside understanding himself.

 He explained, “It's taken me some time to properly "own" my dyslexia.” That’s because it caused shame and embarrassment for most of his life. Concealing his condition encouraged others to think he was lazy and disorganised. In fact, he just couldn’t get his ideas onto paper.

How to manage dyslexia in the workplace

He explained that provision for dyslexic people in everyday life is not available across the board yet. The more people are open about living with these experiences, the more people will understand a simple change in working processes can make all the difference, he believes.

The workplace is already changing. By law, employers need to make reasonable adjustments to help an individual gain the most of their strengths and minimise the challenges that they might experience. An employee does not need to have a diagnostic assessment to receive reasonable adjustments. Learn more about jobs with disability aware employers here.

How does dyslexia affect the way people work

In practice that means you can ask or expect an employer to:

  • Complete a Workplace Needs Assessment to identify exactly what needs you may have as an employee.
  • Think about the support you may need to meet the requirements of the job well. This could include technologies or extra equipment.
  • Reflect on working environment and working practices, and any impact they may have on performance.
  • Consider whether training is provided in ways that are accessible to you.

It's important to be aware that people with dyslexia will not all have the same areas of strength and weakness. Adjustments are often about evolving the way we collaborate together. For example, Simon struggles with written materials and tasks. This means that adjustments for him could include different ways of delivering information, and allowing plenty of time to work on materials.

Support for dyslexic employees

Other examples of support could include:

  • Using assistive technology such as a screen-reader, scanning pen, text to speech or mind-mapping software.
  • Highlighting key points in documents.
  • Using a digital recorder to record meetings, training etc so the employee doesn't have to rely on memory or written note.
  • Supplying an anti-glare screen filter.
  • Reducing distractions for focused tasks and allocate a private workspace if possible.
  • Ensure that work areas are organised, neat, tidy and well-lit.

Good jobs if you have dyslexia

Simon’s story shows having dyslexia is not a barrier to finding the job you want. Search our database for hundreds of vacancies with disability confident employers. We believe in equality. In inclusivity. In the right to great work, whoever you are.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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