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Dyslexia in the workplace

Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019


Dyslexia is just one of the alternative thinking styles that we encounter as part of neurodiversity in the workplace.

In the video above, Mike Styles from the Primary Industry Training Organisation shares some of the statistics on how many people are living and working with this condition, and busts some of the myths about how this impacts their ability to make a positive contribution in the workplace.

Mike says it’s important that our people leaders understand that it is possible to significantly improve the outcomes for employees with dyslexia at a modest cost.

Here are some straightforward steps he recommends that will make a difference for employees with dyslexia and improve the culture and productivity of your workplace at the same time.

  1. Become aware of what dyslexia is and inform your workplace as well. Pay attention to the positive side of dyslexia. Let everybody know that dyslexia is a difference – not a disability.
  2. Provide some tailored professional development for managers, team leaders and supervisors in how best to manage workers with dyslexia. Some minor changes in management tactics will empower the employees with dyslexia in your workplace.
  3. Let your workforce know that your workplace is “dyslexia friendly” and that it is okay to be dyslexic.
  4. Invite any staff member with dyslexia to “self-identify”. But remember – they may take some time to be open about something they have struggled to hide for many years.
  5. Watch out for the “tell-tale signs”. Offer staff a chance to get a dyslexia identification screening. It is very powerful for somebody to find out that there is a reason why they have struggled with text all their life.

For more information and advice on supporting employees with dyslexia, check out our resources and links page.

The Primary Industry Training Organisation received a highly commended recommendation in the 2018 Diversity Awards NZ™ for the work it’s been doing in this space. Read the case study here.

Neurodiversity refers to the different ways the brain can work and interpret information. It highlights that people naturally think about things differently. We have different interests and motivations and are naturally better at some things and poorer at others.

Most people are neurotypical, meaning that the brain functions and processes information in the way society expects.

However, it is estimated that around one in seven people are neurodivergent, meaning that the brain functions, learns and processes information differently. Neurodivergence includes attention deficit disorders, autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia.

This is just another form of human diversity and organisations that take steps to ensure their neurodivergent staff feel valued, part of the team and supported to contribute fully towards achieving the goals of the organisation will reap the benefits of a more productive and engaged workforce.


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