People with learning difficulties can make great employees. They can be very resourceful and conscientious, because they have had to overcome the challenges that dyslexia can present.
Their particular skills mix can be of great benefit to the business and to their colleagues. Yet there are many people in the workplace whose dyslexia is not recognised, and who therefore do not receive the appropriate support.
While it is increasingly important for employers to meet their responsibilities under the Equality Act (2010), we recognise that it can be a challenge for managers and businesses to first identify employees with dyslexia, and then provide the right support. This is where we come in.
In the business setting, DysGuise can provide advice specific to the individual’s role and workplace. Often, the kinds of adjustments we would recommend are simple and straightforward – and they can be very helpful to others in the workplace, bringing benefits to the team as well as the individual.
DysGuise Ltd also offers consultancy services. We can advise on how learning difficulties such as dyslexia can affect individuals and the kinds of adjustments that can be made to support them. Our approach is positive and collaborative.
Case Study 1
“My children (aged 9 and 13) were diagnosed with dyslexia some time ago. As a result of this early diagnosis, they are receiving the appropriate support at school, and will be better placed to make the right decisions about their future careers. Having been involved throughout this process, I suddenly realised that I was looking into a mirror, having myself displayed similar symptoms from an early age.
Over the years (I am now 48), I had learned to adapt my approach to various tasks to try and overcome what I considered to be ‘challenges’ such as reading, comprehension and the retaining of information. My standard strategy was to work excessive hours – 80-90 hours a week. This had become the norm, and was necessary just to get the work done. However, this strategy had become unsustainable over time, particularly as I was promoted into more senior positions with increased responsibility. More importantly, as a result of the excessive hours, my health and wellbeing had deteriorated to the extent where I needed to take action.
I was nervous about any sort of assessment, but Jennie at DysGuise Ltd immediately put me at my ease and was extremely professional throughout. I was particularly impressed by her relaxed approach during the session, which consisted of various exercises with different objectives. The assessment was somewhat of a defining moment for me, with a weight seemingly being lifted from my shoulders. Although I had been aware of my ‘challenges’ for many years, it was a relief to understand the reasons behind my behaviours. Looking back, I always knew I was ‘different’ but it was important that I understood ‘why’.
I lived with my ‘challenges’ for over 40 years, and wish I had sought help and support sooner. If you are concerned you may displaying dyslexic-type symptoms, I strongly recommend you contact Jennie at DysGuise for a professional and personal assessment – you won’t regret it.”
Case Study 2
“At school, I was often near or top of class, but I couldn’t understand why some of my class mates would look at their spelling words for about 20 secs and get them all right in the test, when I had spent quite some time on them and would still often get one or two wrong. I was regarded as a ‘bad speller’. In reading, it took me so much longer to read the assigned pages, and it seemed incredible to me that some people would want to read on beyond the set text. At that time, dyslexia was not only measured discretely, but would also only be considered if you were falling below the national average in reading and writing.
Over the years, I have developed ways of doing things that work for me, for instance making sure I write down all the relevant actions from a meeting, never travelling without a notebook, keeping task lists etc.
I was in my mid 30s and enjoying a rewarding career when I went to Jennie Guise to be assessed for dyslexia. I was pretty sure I was dyslexic, despite not having it picked up as a child and not having any obvious related challenges at work. I genuinely enjoyed the test itself, and found it very interesting the questions that I found easy and those that I struggled with.
The results were relieving – ‘I knew I was dyslexic’ – and provided a wonderful sense of closure on my childhood challenges. I now have a good reason why I would prefer to do other things with my spare time rather than read books. To be a good leader, you need to understand your strengths and weaknesses, this assessment and outcome are very much a part of that for me.”
Case Study 3: Craig
Craig struggled through school and always thought he could never improve his writing in English. He went on to get a degree in Sports Development, and joined the Police Force.
“I struggled with writing reports and taking statements. It was the spelling and memory retention. I would take about six attempts to get a name right.”
Colleagues suggested Craig might be dyslexic, but he gave up his job because he thought he wasn’t good enough. After he left the police, his parents encouraged him to get an assessment. Craig was referred to DysGuise, and after a comprehensive test he was assessed as dyslexic in March 2011. Since getting the assessment, Craig started a new job as a Prison Officer, and the twenty-five year-old says he has found it much easier to manage the challenges he faces every day.
“Finding out has been the best thing. It has made life so much easier. At work I get extra time in exams, and I use green paper so the words don’t appear all jumbled up.”
Looking back, Craig, from Falkirk, says that if he had been assessed earlier in life things could have turned out differently.
“I passed at University but I always felt I was scraping through. And if I had known at school and had support, maybe I would have had different choices about jobs.”
Now, Craig says he is relieved to know he has dyslexia and feels it makes a big difference to have an employer that is supportive.
“Since I have been assessed, it has been excellent. I think it can be a touchy subject for some employers because it’s a disability. When I was at school, it wasn’t really understood, but I think it’s more readily acceptable now. People should get the support they need at work. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.”