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For employees

As an adult with dyslexia, you may find it difficult to deal with some aspects of your day to day tasks that you need to be successful in the workplace.

Therefore, learning how to deal with your dyslexia difficulties will be extremely beneficial for your accomplishments.

However, many adults with dyslexia do not know what their dyslexia difficulties are and what works for them with their difficulties.

They may think everyone has the same difficulties as they do and that they are just "stupid", when in fact with strategies they will be successful.  Therefore, it is extremely important to gain help with this.

Ways of help yourself

At Work:

  • Learn what your dyslexia difficulties are and what strategies will help you with these difficulties.
  • Consider disclosing to your employer that you are dyslexic, if your employer does not know you are dyslexic, how can they help you?
  • Identify what skills are required for your work.
  • Reflect on how you can develop or acquire these skills.
  • Keep an updated record of what skills you do have.
  • Think how you could show your skills to an employer .
  • Try and do work experience to see what sort of work you like and can do.
  • Seek guidance on, for example, interview skills, time management, work organisation, stress, negative emotion and spoken language skills.
  • Use technology, other equipment and strategies that helps you.

A few simple practices that can be useful:

  • Personalised your notebook with relevant names and other necessary information which can be quickly accessed by you.
  • Improve the lighting to work by.
  • Colour code stored items.
  • Use icons to replace written names.
  • Plan and prepare your work at the start of the day.
  • Organise your work space.
  • Prepare the materials for your working day.
  • Make sure you have an overview of your total workload.
  • Break work down into categories and sub tasks.
  • Work in stages by breaking down your work into manageable sized tasks.
  • Ask for help, there is no shame in it.
  • Take short breaks, you make more silly mistakes when you are tied.
  • Take things at your own speed.
  • Use your visual and creative strengths.
  • Manage your time and tasks.
  • Record all the tasks in a diary, action list, chart, calendar, mobile phone, etc.
  • Regularly monitor your progress and update your action list.
  • When following instructions, make sure you understand what to do by repeating them back to the person who has just given them to you.
  • When taking a telephone call repeat the message or phone number to make sure you have written it down correctly or if possible record the call or use a memory telephone.
  • Deal with overload before it gets too stressful for you.
  • Making use of the 24 hour clock format is one way of knowing if it is night or day.
  • The lighting of your environment is very important. If the lighting is too bright it can slow down reading and makes too much glare. Therefore, having a dim or soft white light or even natural light helps.
  • Ask other employees politely not to disrupt you when you are busy doing something important. It may be a good idea to explain why.
  • If possible work in a quiet place away from distractions.
  • Listening to music with earphones can help in a noisy environment.

Emotions:

  • Learn to deal with your anxiety and stress.
  • Learn relaxation techniques, such as, taking a few deep breaths, relax and meditate.
  • Take time off from what is making you nervous or stressed.
  • Do physical exercise.
  • Do not trying too hard.
  • Getting support, there is no shame in asking for help.
  • Developing your work and organisation skills will help with your stress levels.
  • Learn to tackle your and others negative thoughts.
  • Develop assertiveness.
  • Learn to deal with your anger and the anger of others.

Difficulty with reading:

  • Highlight pens in different colours are ideal for highlighting important text. By using different colours it helps you to organise it into different categories.
  • Make notes in the margins.
  • Visualise what you are reading.
  • Take regular breaks.
  • Do a review on what you have read, for example, using a mind map.
  • Read your work aloud to yourself or use a reading software, such as ClaroRead, Kurzwell, Texthelp or Intel Digital Reader.
  • Make a point of reading daily, it does not just help you with your reading, it also helps your to remember the shape of the words and with your spelling.
  • Use a large printed dictionary and thesaurus if you have difficulty with the size of the print in a normal dictionary or thesaurus.
  • Coloured stick-on-stickers are very useful for keeping notes and as page markers.
  • Eye level Reading Rulers, by placing the ruler over the text it reduces glare, improves focus and assist tracking.
  • It can be used to read a single line or a paragraph of text with its narrow or wider window.
  • Also, there are A4 size coloured overlays that reduce the glare of the page.
  • Virtual Reading Ruler is a ruler that reduce the glare, improves focus and assist tracking of anything you are reading on your computer.
  • Use coloured paper for photocopying information.
  • Scan or photocopy any document that the print is too small for you to read in a larger format.
  • Change the font size and background colour on a word processor.
  • Typed or word-processed notes rather than handwritten ones.
  • If possible have information in audio format.

Difficulty with writing:

  • Clarify your aim and requirement for the written task.
  • Plan for your written work.
  • Learn how to tackle the block of writing.
  • Brainstorm for ideas.
  • Order and link your ideas, using a mind map for example will help with this.
  • Plan the introduction and conclusion.
  • Work in stages, so you do not become too tied and make silly mistakes.
  • Use writing aids, PC software, such as, audio equipment, spellcheckers, voice dictation systems, text-to-speech, creative or planning software and voice recorder.
  • Check, edit and recheck your work.
  • Also, have someone to proofread it for you.
  • Make your own spelling dictionary of words you have difficulty spelling.
  • Duplicate Book is useful to have someone to take notes for you at the same time they make note for them self.
  • Revision cards and filling box can be used for example, to learning to spell a word and its meaning. You put the word on one side of the card and the meaning on the other and store them in the box. When you have time you can go though them one at a time until you can read, spell and know the meaning of the word without looking it up.

Technology:

Modern technology has greatly developed over the years and has proven invaluable in helping dyslexic people cope with their difficulties. However, which specific device the dyslexic individual uses would depend on their difficulties. Some devices could be extremely helpful for some, but not at all for others. Therefore, it is a matter of trying it to see if it is helpful to you.

Here is a few of the technology that may be of help you below:

  • Having your own Laptop or Tabletop computer is extremely useful for when you work from home.
  • All work should be backed up regularly in case the computer has a fault, for this reason a Hard Drive, for example a  Ultra - portable Hard Drive would be ideal for the task. It is also ideal for taking it from one computer and putting it on another.
  • Memory Pen are use for backing up your work and for taking it from one computer and putting it on another.
  • Voice recognition software, like Dragon Dictate, allows you to write by dictating it onto the computer without the worry of concentrating on spelling or looking where the keyboard keys are and quicker than typing.
  • Text-to-speech software allow you to have, for example, emails, web pages, books and what you have written, est. read out loud to you. ClaroRead is one such software which also has a 15 days "Free" demo available that giving you the opportunity to try it before buying it.
  • Concept mapping programs provides a visual way of planning, organising and prioritising your ideas and work activities.
  • Mindjet, Mind Manager 8. There is a 30 days "Free" trial available giving you the opportunity to try it before buying it.
  • Screen reading rulers magnify and highlights part of the computer screen in a horizontal band, which improves your reading accuracy.
  • Scanners permit any printed material to be inputted onto a computer, which would allow a document to be read back by a screen reading software.
  • Electronic dictionaries, such as the hand held Franklin Spellmaster is similar to conventional ones, only they are easier to use and faster.
  • Grammar and spelling software, such as White Smoke provides advanced technological solution for our basic writing editing and proofreading needs.
  • QuickLink - Pen Elite is a hand held pen containing PCR software which enables it to scan, store and transfer any printed text, plus dictionary access.
  • Digital recorders are very useful for meetings, training sessions, discussions, notes, reminders, putting your thoughts down before writing them down and conversations for example. It helps with your understanding as you can replay what you have recorded over and over again. You can also read aloud what you have written and listen to detect mistakes you may have made.
  • Electronic organisers help with time management, scheduling your work and remembering important dates.
  • A calculator is obviously helpful for dyslexic.
  • Memory telephones are useful if you have problems with your short-term memory. Memory telephones have the quality of storing phone numbers and automatically dial them.
  • Satellite navigation equipment is helpful if your work includes travelling.
  • Laminate things you have difficult remembering in order, for example, months of the year, days of the week, phone codes and the alphabet.

Dyslexia Jersey does not endorse any of the equipment; these are only suggestions.

References:

Bartlett, Diana, Moody, Sylvia and Kindersley, Katherine, (2010), "Dyslexia in the Workplace: An Introductory Guide", Second Edition, Wiley-Blackwell.

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