How L&D professionals can help dyslexic employees

by John Hilton22 Feb 2016
In Australia, there are some businesses who seek advice and information about assisting employees with dyslexia, according to Jodi Clements, president of the Australian Dyslexia Association (ADA).

However, companies generally need more awareness and information on their legal responsibilities for employees with dyslexia, and how to best support them in the workplace.

“When individuals with dyslexia are unsupported in the workplace, they can develop low self-esteem and feel trapped,” she told L&D Professional.

Clements added that many individuals with dyslexia have creative ideas, and excellent communication and visual skills.

More often than not, however, dyslexia in the workplace can affect writing and reading tasks. 

“It is important that businesses know that dyslexia is protected under law (Disability Discrimination Act 1992, section f),” Clements added.

 “It is also vital that the individual with dyslexia is aware of the workplace challenges associated with it and, where possible, they choose tasks that are more conducive to their way of learning,” she said. 

“They also need to be aware of what assistance is available to help them with jobs that may demand skills in the areas that dyslexia inherently affects.” 

Individuals with dyslexia learn and acquire skills best through demonstration, said Clements.

“Teaching is best presented in a multi-sensory way that is incorporating all learning channels: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic,” she added.

For tasks that involve reading, spelling and writing (including tests), the best ways to assist are to read the test to the individual, allow extra time, and permit a laptop with spell check.

Clements emphasised that it is not a matter of trying to "teach" dyslexic employees how to read or spell. Rather, it is a matter of making written print accessible to them so that they can best comprehend it.

“The best way to do this is by providing a digital reader or somebody to read to them,” Clements added.

“Individuals with dyslexia have troubles with decoding and fluency, and this is why they comprehend things better by listening.

“When the workplace environment is adjusted, individuals with dyslexia often exceed their role expectations and go on to create and achieve amazing things.” 

For further information on screening, assessment and support for adults with dyslexia, please contact the Australian Dyslexia Association at