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My Disability Journey - Lisi at DCMS

Category: disability, Dyslexia, Government, Hidden Disabilities, Jobs in Government, Disability Awareness, Disability and Neurodiversity, Disability Inclusion, Disability Inclusive, disabilty in workplace, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, UK Government, learning disability, disability at work, DCMS, disabled employee, disability network

Disability

At DCMS we are committed to promoting opportunities for candidates with disabilities and ensuring their experience working at DCMS is positive - that they feel supported and empowered in spite of any challenges they may face. 

We have started sharing staff members experiences and journeys with disability on our intranet so that all staff members can gain a greater understanding and appreciation. 

Lisi has bravely shared her story: 

“My name is Lisi Bouchard and I work in the Civil Society and Youth Directorate at DCMS. Over the last year I have headed up the Civil Society and Youth Transformation and Briefings hub. I am also a trained coach and have founded the DCMS coaching community.

What is your disability/life long condition and what impact has it had on your life overall and how you work? 

I am dyslexic. I remember finding primary school hard work, fearing the weekly spelling tests at primary school or reading out loud. However, I loved writing poetry (which doesn't have rules) and was an avid reader (in my head), reading The Hobbit aged 8. At secondary school, as work was more focused on ideas and concepts, I started to enjoy learning for the first time.  

What is it like to have dyslexia at work? 

It means some written/verbal work can feel like walking through treacle. Think back to when you last learnt a new skill e.g. driving, cycling, rowing, excel etc. Can you remember the extra effort and concentration you had to put into what others did effortlessly? That's what dyslexia feels like to me- making a submission in an hour on little sleep and extra challenge!

My brain also develops ideas differently. I often get ideas visually and do my best work drawing out ideas on paper, and then distilling these into words and key questions. This is fantastic for strategy work, but makes formulating and articulating new policy ideas on the fly in meetings - which is highly valued in the civil service - more challenging. 

What would you like the future to be like for colleagues with disabilities at work?

Being able to talk about the disability openly and the strengths that it can bring into the workplace as well as being honest about the challenges. For those with dyslexia the amount of form-filling to get anything done, from onboarding staff to workplace assessments and applications for development schemes, doesn't feel enabling. 

What is the main thing you would like DCMS colleagues to know about dyslexia?

Colleagues with dyslexia have overcome multiple challenges to work here and are therefore highly effective problem solvers with a strong work ethic. 

The dyslexic brain also has some incredible strengths. People with dyslexia can be exceptional at sifting through information and making strategic connections. They are often great at visualisation, strategy and innovation. This is why a high proportion of CEOs and entrepreneurs are dyslexic (40% according to a survey of 66,000 millionaires).”

If you relate to Lisi’s story and you to strive to work in an environment where you can talk openly about disability, it’s strengths and challenges, then we would love for you to join us at DCMS. We strive to become the most inclusive department in Whitehall.

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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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Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

Inclusive features

  • Race, Ethnicity & Heritage
  • Dependency (Parenting & Carers)
  • Social Responsibility (Charity/ Volunteering)
  • Staff Network Group

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