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Ways to Provide Assistance to a Patient With Dyslexia

Recent data from Dyslexia International indicates that dyslexia is amongst the most common learning challenges. Individuals with dyslexia are entitled to reasonable accommodations under the law to address their condition. Nevertheless, those who are not neurodiverse may struggle to fully understand this condition and the adjustments required in the workplace. Below are some key facts about dyslexia along with recommendations on how to support an employee with dyslexia.

Key Points Regarding Dyslexia

  • Approximately 10% of the global population is affected by dyslexia.
  • Dyslexia, a neurological condition, does not impact a person’s intelligence.
  • Individuals with dyslexia may encounter difficulties with letters, words, numbers, or a combination of these.
  • Many people with dyslexia develop coping mechanisms to engage effectively in society.

Supportive Steps for a Dyslexic Employee

While some individuals with dyslexia recognize their challenges early in life, others may only become aware of them later. However, both groups require support from their peers and superiors to perform successfully in the workplace. You can:

Educate Your Team on Dyslexia

The misconception that individuals with dyslexia lack intelligence or diligence is outdated and inaccurate. Therefore, it is essential to provide your team with current information about this condition to help them understand the daily challenges faced by their dyslexic colleagues and how to support them.

Adapt Communication Strategies for Your Team

Dyslexia primarily impacts language perception. Understanding how your colleague best processes information through conversations is crucial. Do they prefer oral instructions followed by written notes? Can they handle emails, or do they find post-it notes more effective? Simplifying information into brief notes or bullet points can be beneficial, as individuals with dyslexia often struggle with lengthy texts.

For dyslexic individuals, visual and spoken information are more accessible. However, some may find it easier to read content in larger fonts or on colored backgrounds. Inform your team to be mindful of these preferences when working with dyslexic team members.

Establish a Calm Work Environment

A quiet workspace is crucial for a dyslexic individual to focus. If a low-distraction area is not available, consider alternatives like telecommuting or flexible scheduling for intensive tasks.

Provide Assistive Tools and Technologies

Utilizing appropriate technology can significantly enhance a dyslexic employee’s performance. Assistive technologies can range from simple tools to advanced software like speech-to-text applications and top-tier spelling and grammar checkers.

Dyslexic individuals may struggle with proofreading due to their brain function. Text-to-voice software allows them to hear mistakes when the text is read aloud, increasing the accuracy of their work. Word prediction software and text-to-speech apps are additional aids that can benefit individuals with dyslexia.

Allocate Extra Time for Task Completion

The most critical aspect when collaborating with someone with dyslexia is recognizing the need for additional time. Dyslexia affects how the brain processes information, potentially requiring more time for reading or organizing thoughts.

Difficulty finding information, multiple proofreading rounds, susceptibility to distractions, or slow reading are common challenges for dyslexic individuals. Providing sufficient time for tasks ensures high-quality, error-free work by reducing stress-induced errors.

Realizing the Benefits of Supporting a Dyslexic Employee

Many highly successful individuals, such as Salma Hayek, Richard Branson, and Steve Jobs, have dyslexia. This underscores the fact that dyslexia does not equate to incompetence or laziness. Supporting a dyslexic employee can lead to reduced absenteeism, stress levels, and improved performance and productivity, generating a positive return on investment.

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