Dyslexia affects 10% of the UK – yet it is a condition that is still wildly misunderstood. Dyslexia is a neurological condition that affects reading and writing.
It is not a learning difficulty because it has zero effect on intelligence.
How people experience it, like with anything else, can vary greatly.
And, as things currently stand, it is something that you live with for life. Although the exact cause is still a medical mystery, we know so much more about how we can help those with dyslexia.
Dr Daryl Brown is the headmaster at Maple Hayes Dyslexia School. Daryl is the son of Dr Neville Brown who developed a unique morphological approach to literacy learning which is used at the school.
The method uses picture icons to attach meaning to morphemes, or word segments.
Using synthetic phonics, students are taught to build up pronunciations for unfamiliar written words by translating letters into sounds and blending the sounds together.
So, when it comes to dyslexia, he knows his stuff.
Here’s Daryl’s 7 tips on how to support people with dyslexia in the workplace:
Make sure they’re aware of who to go to if they find they are struggling – but don’t leave it until there’s a problem.
Break the ice with a regular meeting just to make sure everything is going OK.
It doesn’t have to be formal, a few minutes chat at the right time can stop a minor difficulty escalating to a disaster.
Make that chat part of the routine, the mentor should be proactive but discreet.
Each dyslexic will have come up with their own strategies. Ask them what they are – often what helps a dyslexic will also benefit others.
They may also have different ways of doing things and looking at things. Take advantage of their expertise.
Use visual prompts in presentations and paperwork, like simple clipart images or colour coding to distinguish between key background information.
Colour code for mandatory and advisory, much like road signs.
Use the same prompts for all your presentations.
Remember that complicated images and photographs will be distracting, so don’t have them on the same Powerpoint slide as the information you want to be remembered.
Stick to the same format for paperwork/forms so it’s easy to find/enter information.
Organisations often have different forms for different purposes and for different departments.
Use larger/bold print for important information.
Use the same font for the paperwork and right justify rather than full justify large amounts of text.
The visual pattern of the different line lengths will help the dyslexic keep track of where they are on the page.
Don’t attempt long tasks. Have tasks broken down into stages that can be ‘ticked off’.
What needs to be done by the end of the day, the end of the week, and so on.
Make sure time is set aside to complete them.
This is good time management but dyslexics often also have organisational difficulties and operating a routine (like having a school timetable) with structured blocks of time will certainly help.
Have a clearly defined work area with minimal distractions.
Many dyslexics will struggle to maintain concentration when there is background noise or if there are visual distractions like display screens.
Make sure the work area is only for that purpose and go somewhere else for a break.
Extra time will be needed to work through written material – reduce this by giving out information before the meeting, give a bullet point list with key information, identify the keywords that may be difficult – this may include people’s names and business names.
PR by Reeves Public Relations agency in Birmingham and Newcastle