Category Archives: News

Creating A Dyslexia-Friendly Workplace

Creating a dyslexia-friendly workplace not only helps support existing dyslexic staff but can even make your business stand out and attract new employees from a wider pool of talent. Being dyslexia-friendly means a mixture of practice, assistance, and understanding across the whole workplace. However, it is not as difficult as it sounds, and these four quick tips will go a long way to making sure your workplace is dyslexia-friendly.

 

  • Nominate dyslexia experts

 

Nominate members of staff who have a good understanding of dyslexia to act as experts to support staff with dyslexia. Having someone with a good understanding of the condition will help ease the pressure of having to speak up and address any issues when needed.

 

  • Educate Employees

 

It shouldn’t just be down to your chosen dyslexia experts to offer support and understanding for employees with learning difficulties. Instead look to educate and train all staff about the effects of dyslexia and create a supportive culture. Supporting dyslexic employees will lower stress and could help prevent absenteeism. Not only can a supportive environment prevent these negative effects but it will allow your dyslexic employees to thrive so you can draw on their particular skills and talents, such as creative thinking and a different perspective in the workplace.

 

  • Assistive Technology

Assistive technology can help offer practical support to dyslexic staff, but why stop there? You could consider implementing assistive technology across your business so as not to single out dyslexic staff while also allowing others to use the tech to improve their own performance. Vocendi offer a range of assistive technology solutions that you could use, which are tailored to your own specific needs, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

 

  • Promote

 

Finally, don’t be afraid to promote yourself as a dyslexia-friendly employer. Let your staff know that there is assistive technology available – especially during the recruitment and induction process. Make your support part of your culture rather than something ‘special’ for specific staff. Make it clear that you are dyslexia-friendly and you will not only offer support for existing staff but can also encourage recruitment from a wider talent pool than other employers.

 

The Dyslexia-Friendly Workplace

It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a current or prospective employee based on their dyslexia, while the 2010 Equality Act means that all publicly-funded companies must implement a three-year rolling programme to address and eliminate discrimination based on disabilities.

 

This means that employers should make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to help dyslexic employees to work effectively, but what sort of adjustments are these?

 

There should be a written disability policy within the workplace and any company-wide information should be produced in alternative formats such as audio or in a larger font.  Employees should also be able to choose different coloured backgrounds, overlays and fonts to aid their comprehension. Employers may also consider bringing in assistive technology and software – which is something Vocendi can help with!

 

Aside from using technology, employers should also seek to bring in specialist one-to-one training or tuition for dyslexic employees in order to assist in matters such as time management., memory improvement, concentration and organisation.

 

However, before any of these can be implemented, employers need to assess the needs of their employers. This means finding out more about dyslexia and creating a culture of acceptance within the workplace. Employers should identify workplace problems and encourage a support among employees as well as making sure that communications are disseminated in a way that doesn’t exacerbate or ignore any problems encountered by dyslexic workers. Of course, a company should also look to create a dyslexia-friendly interface for customers too – or else risk losing business!

 

These adjustments needn’t be huge or overly demanding to make, but they can have a real benefit to a business. Not only does a dyslexia -friendly environment create a better level of service for customers and clients but can help bring out the strengths of the workforce.  These measures will also help reduce absenteeism, stress and staff turnover, creating a more dedicated and unified workforce.

 

Showing you care as an employer and making the right adjustments will not only improve how effective employees are, but can also improve company morale, motivation, and loyalty – not to mention keeping in line with the Equality Act!

Dealing With Dyspraxia

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), commonly known as dyspraxia, is often seen as a childhood condition, but new evidence seems to show that it can also effect adolescents and adults too.

 

This learning condition affects motor coordination as well as being associated with problems with memory, planning, organisation and perception. Despite impacting between 5 and 10% of school-age children, awareness of dyspraxia is still poor, and things seem to only get worse as people get older.  This may be because by adolescence and adulthood many of those with DCD have developed coping conditions to deal with the condition. However, these coping mechanisms can easily lead to those with dyspraxia avoiding certain activities, creating a barrier to achievement and potential.

 

Where children will learn how to develop and strengthen the skills that DCD impacts, adults will tend to need a different approach to develop strategies and support to deal with the condition. Using assistive technologies can help those with dyspraxia to keep up in class (where written work may prove tricky), stay organised, and stay involved in activities alongside their peers.

 

Moving from the classroom to the workplace, and again we can see the importance of recognising and supporting those with DCD.  Where many of the motor-skills difficulties will be coped with, there will still be issues around the non-physical aspects of dyspraxia – such as organisational and planning problems.

 

However, with reasonable adjustments in the workplace, these issues needn’t be a problem. While the condition can spike when under duress, when learning new things, or when in distracting environments, this can be managed with a little forethought and with the use of the correct support – including technology. Some even find that an enjoyable physical activity such as cycling can help, while some individuals benefit from counselling and mental wellbeing support.

 

Despite being more-commonly associated with children, dyspraxia is a life-long condition, but it needn’t be life-limiting. With the right support and some understanding an individual can deal wioth dyspraxia and shine.

It’s Dyslexia Awareness Week!

This week is Dyslexia Awareness Week, which means there are a whole host of different activities and events taking place, while the focus this year is on the ‘identification of dyslexia.’ While this week is one of the biggest weeks of the calendar year for dyslexia awareness, the work goes on here at Vocendi all year to help those with the condition.

 

While things have certainly improved when it comes to spotting dyslexia in people (particularly school children) there is still much to do to help battle against the stigma associated with the condition.

 

Some still hold the belief that dyslexics are somehow ‘stupid’ rather than having a condition that impairs their ability to read or work with numbers. Of course, this is plain ignorance and cannot be condoned, just as the belittling of someone with any other type of disability would not be tolerated.

 

However, if dyslexia can be spotted then there is plenty that can be done to alleviate the effects of the symptoms – particularly through the use of Assistive Technology. Again, this is an area where there have been huge improvements over recent years, meaning that with the right help those with dyslexia can be supported fully whether studying or at work.

 

However, Assistive Technology is no good unless you receive the correct training in how to use it – which is something that we can provide at Vocendi.

 

With the right support, training and relevant technology to help there is no need to feel that your disability is holding you back and you can then use your skills to great effect either at work or in college or university.

 

Take a look at our site today to see how we can help you or someone you know to fulfil their potential. Dyslexia needn’t hold you back or be debilitating, as just like with any condition, once recognised you can go about making sure the problem is catered for.

 

So, here’s wishing you all a great Dyslexia Awareness Week and hope that you can use it as inspiration to push forward, find out how you can be supported, and make a difference in your daily life.

Are You Dyslexic?

Next week, 3 to 9 October, is Dyslexia Awareness Week – a time when the charities of the British Dyslexic Association, Dyslexia Scotland, Xtraordinary People, Dyslexia Action and more come together to promote issues relating to dyslexia.

 

This year’s Dyslexia Awareness Week is themed around the ‘Identification of Dyslexia,’ which had us thinking – how do you know if you are dyslexic?

 

Dyslexia is not only what is known as a ‘hidden disability’ but is also believed to be the most common learning difficulty and, while things have improved over the years, there is still a lot of misunderstanding about the condition.

 

As with any condition, dyslexia comes in a variety of forms and affects people to differing degrees, meaning that you could be mildly dyslexic and not have really even questioned it before. And what about the people around you – such as your friends and family – could it be that any of them are unknowingly struggling with dyslexia?

 

It used to be the case that children who struggled with reading, spelling or numbers at school would just be considered to not be very clever, rather than recognising that there was an underlying condition that was making these things difficult for them.

 

Of course, if the condition is not picked up and a child is marginalised in class there is every chance that they may decide school is not for them and start to play up rather than working. This means that many of these children were able to fulfil their potential and would have gone on to lead lives just believing they weren’t very good at reading (for example) without considering that they could have a learning disability – and equally importantly, doing something about it by getting the proper support.

 

Of course, things are much better than they were a few years ago, but there is still a stigma attached to dyslexia that would not be associated with other, more obvious, disabilities.

 

Recognising and understanding dyslexia is important and so it is good that there are a number of online tests that you can do to see if you may be dyslexic. A quick online search will locate several tests that you can do to assess if you may be dyslexic, which will then allow you to seek out the support you may need either at work or in your studies.

 

There are laws in place to prevent discrimination against those with dyslexia in the workplace, for example, but they are of little use if you don’t know you have the learning disability in the first place!

 

We are certainly looking forward to Dyslexia Awareness Week and seeing what advice and information is made available to us all!

New Year, New Studies, New Goals

It’s a new academic year which, for many students means heading back to school, college, or even off to university. Whether you are returning somewhere for another year or starting something afresh, you will want to be prepared to get off to the best possible start.

 

Getting Equipped:

 

The first step in this is making sure you are ready with all the things you might need to see you through the week. Pens, paper, and a sturdy bag to carry your stuff around in is a good starting point, while buying a few new things can also help you to feel like you are making a new start for the academic year – even if you are returning to a course you began last year.

 

If you are returning to a course, it is also worth tidying up your notes from last year. Throwing away any unimportant or unnecessary papers, making sure your work is filed properly, and even going over some old notes to make sure they still make sense may seem like a bit of a waste of time, but it will help refresh your memory ready for the new year, while also giving you a head-start for when it is time to revise later in the year!

 

Of course, it is not just about what you might need for your studies either, you will want to make sure you have a few other items too – tissues (winter is coming!), lip balm, your iPod, money for the bus or lunch, and those other little things that you need each day.

 

Timetables?

 

You will also want to make sure you know where you are going, which means getting your timetable organised. Knowing where you have to be and when takes a lot of the stress out of the day, but your timetable shouldn’t just be a list of where and when your classes are. It is also a good idea to keep track of your deadlines for essays and other work. Keeping a study diary is a good way to do this and make sure you don’t accidentally leave something until the last minute – or forget it entirely!

 

A study timetable can also help out your social life as it will mean you are more organised with your work and therefore able to sort out meeting up with friends and other activities too.

 

Extra Support?

 

You may also want to look for some extra support with your studies by speaking to your college and finding out about what they can offer you if you have a condition such as dyslexia. There is no need for this to hold you back from being all you can be and achieving your goals. You may be eligible for DSA or assistive technology which will help support your studies.

 

At Vocendi we can help with these type of things – from study support to assistive technology training – which means that you can step confidently into the new academic year.

Uncovering The Learning Myths Of Neuroscience

There are a lot of common beliefs around how our brains work – especially when it comes to learning. Some common myths are being peddled like facts, and it seems that if you couple one of these pseudo-scientific ‘facts’ with a picture of the brain people are more likely to believe them!

 

Unfortunately, some of these learning myths are believed by teachers and parents and therefore make their way into the beliefs of students too. Of course, understanding how our memories work and how we learn is useful when it comes to teaching and more effective study, but it seems that a few of the more commonly held beliefs are actually wrong, and have no real basis in fact.

 

Here are a few common neuroscience myths – and why they simply aren’t true:

 

  • You have A Favoured ‘Learning Style.’

 

This incredibly common neuroscience myth says that each of us has a preferred way of learning – whether visual, auditory or kinaesthetic – that is using your eyes, listening or a hands-on approach. The theory says that you will learn better if you use your ‘favoured’ learning style.
Despite there being no evidence to support this, it is apparently believed by 93% of teachers. While some students will have a preference for a particular style of learning this doesn’t actually translate over to getting better grades.  In fact, findings indicate that it is best to use a variety of different senses and learning styles to cement new information in the brain – creating neural pathways related to sight, sound and touch is more effective than just using one of these.

 

  • You Only Use 10% Of Your Brain

 

There is a myth going around that Albert Einstein declared that we only use 10% of our brain, leading some to believe that there is a great untapped potential within all of us. However, the theory is untrue – and Einstein never said anything of the sort!

 

Unfortunately, a lot of people still believe this myth, despite there being no evidence to support it. In fact, with advances in our understanding of how the brain works we know that this 10% myth is incorrect.

 

  • Right Or Left Sided Brain

 

An amazing 91% of teachers believe that the difference between the right or left sides of the brain create differences in individual learners who are described as using one side or the other. There is a belief that those who are left-brained are rational and objective while those who are right-brained are more creative. This was based on a study of epilepsy in the 1960s, but since then research has found that neither side of the brain is solely responsible for personality types. Students may decide that they don’t have the right sort of brain for a particular subject, which is, of course, nonsense!

 

  • Brain Training Games Make You Smarter

 

You have probably seen adverts for brain training games and how they claim to be able to help improve your memory, concentration or intelligence. Of course, playing these games frequently means that you will get better at them over time, but there is no evidence to suggest that this transfers over to making you better at other activities, such as learning in class.

 

There are some benefits to be had from these type of games, for example for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and of course, keeping you brain active can certainly help in these type of circumstances. However, a leading researcher into these type of games concluded that there is  “no evidence for any generalised improvements in cognitive function following brain training in a large sample of healthy adults.”

 

These neurological myths are surprisingly widespread but perhaps it is time to look at them with a more critical eye. For example, it is clear to see that makers of brain-training games will be keen to get you to buy them, so may make a few leaps of judgment in promoting them to the public. Here’s hoping that these out-dated myths fade away to be replaced by more solid, research-based facts!