Tag Archives: disability rights

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 Personal Touch – With Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology or ‘A.T.’ is specialist technology that helps support those with disabilities and learning needs. It can be either software or hardware and can be awarded through either Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) or Access To Work (ATW) schemes.

 

Designed to help students and employees overcome any difficulties they may have, for example with dyslexia, ADHD, or autism, Assistive Technology comes in a number of different forms depending on requirements.

 

However, since everyone is unique, Vocendi believe that any Assistive technology support should be matched to the needs of the individual, rather than seeking a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution, as is favoured by some other providers.

 

In fact, Vocendi offer one-to-one training sessions where an individual’s needs can be assessed so that the best solution can be found for each person. This holistic approach offers users a unique experience tailored for them rather than trying to cut corners to get as many people on board as possible without actually doing much to really help.

 

Vocendi make sure that our trainers have the rights skills and experience to offer this personal touch when it comes to Assistive Technology. With this in mind, we have implemented a competency framework to monitor and assess our team to ensure that service users have the best possible experience.

 

We believe that everyone has the right to reach their full potential and that far from being a burden, those who require Assistive Technology have a great deal to offer just as long as there is the help required to achieve this potential.

 

Of course, the Equality Act means that discriminating against someone in the workplace because of a condition like dyslexia is illegal and reasonable adjustments are expected to be made by an employer to prevent this.

 

The same can be said for those who are studying, with Disabled Students Allowance designed to help people be all they can rather than being side-lined due to disability or a learning difficulty.

 

You can find out more about our services and how they can help you right here on Vocendi.com – don’t settle for less, be all you can with Assistive Technology and support!

Lifting The Lid On Hidden Disabilities

As people, it seems that many of us are guilty of ignoring what we can’t see. This can be seen in how so many are happy to ignore the plight of the poverty-stricken, refugees, homeless, and others in similar situations. So long as it doesn’t impact on our daily lives, it seems that many people are happy to carry on as if these things don’t exist.

 

However, it is not just societal ills that people turn a blind eye to – but also things such as mental health issues and hidden disabilities such as dyslexia. While we wouldn’t berate someone in a wheelchair for not being able to climb a flight of stairs, it is all too easy to ignore the less-obvious disabilities and issues that others may face.

 

A large part of this is because conditions such as dyslexia are not immediately obvious, often went unrecognised, and were frequently misrepresented as someone not trying, or being ‘stupid.’ Of course, things have steadily improved over the years, but our ability to recognise and appreciate the effects of hidden disabilities still leaves a lot to be desired.

 

Fortunately, with anti-discrimination laws in place, it is becoming harder for employers and others in positions of power to discriminate against those with conditions like dyslexia, dyspraxia, and ADHD. In fact, employers are now required to take reasonable steps to accommodate and support those with these types of conditions.

 

It is not just in the workplace that there have been advances in supporting those with such conditions, but there is also a great deal that can be done to help students to thrive and reach their true potential despite of their dyslexia, ADHD, or other hidden disability.

 

Assistive technology has helped immensely, and is something that we at Vocendi take seriously, but it is not just a question of throwing technology at the problem. It is also about attitudes. As employers, teachers and tutors become more aware of hidden disabilities and how to support those with them, so we are all able to better see the potential of those who have them. Far from being judged by a condition, we can now look to the strengths rather than dwell on the difficulties.

 

Out of sight, out of mind may still be a real attitude problem in our society, but hidden disabilities needn’t and shouldn’t be brushed under the carpet or passed off as something else. It is all about education, knowledge and understanding – not for those with the condition as much as for those without.

 

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist!

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!

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!

How Will ‘Brexit’ Impact Neurodiversity In Britain?

In case you have been hiding under a rock for the last couple of weeks, a referendum was held in the UK about membership of the European Union, with 52% voting to leave the EU and 48% choosing to stay. This means that, unless something changes, Britain is set to cut many of its ties with Europe – but what does this mean for neurodiversity and the laws regarding things like employment and education for those with conditions such as autism, dyslexia, or ADHD?

 

As it stands, nothing is set to change any time soon. With matters already being delayed by the need to choose a new Prime Minister following the resignation of David Cameron, talks over how Britain will leave the EU have yet to begin. These are expected to take up to two years to complete before an agreement is reached. This means that any support you get under laws like the Care Act or the Welfare Reform Act will stay as they are for the time being.

 

Indeed, most of the rules made about care and support are not made by the European Union, so many of them should stay as they are even after we leave the E.U. That said, we cannot know what rules or laws may change under future governments

 

So, while we don’t expect much to change right now, we also don’t know exactly how things will look once Britain leaves the E.U. Quite simply, no nation has ever left the E.U. like this before, so nobody really knows exactly what will happen.

 

You may have noticed that a lot of economists and other experts have said that there will be a negative impact on finance, which has already been seen in how the pound dropped in the markets compared to other currencies. The knock-on effect of this could be that businesses are forced to cut jobs or move out of the UK as they face losses on imports and exports. Should this occur then there will clearly be an impact on employment for everyone, including neurodiverse groups. There could also be an effect on the freedom of movement and for those looking to come to the UK, or go abroad, to study.

 

It seems that we are living in the quiet before the storm. It is a time when we really can’t be sure what will happen and how any exit negotiations and agreements will go. As a result, for many, it may more-or-less seem like business as usual, but there is a good chance changes are ahead…

Understanding Access To Work

The 2010 Equality Act means that all employers have to make reasonable adjustments to support employees with disabilities, health or mental health conditions. In this instance, the scope of what might constitute a ‘disability’ is pretty broad and includes anything that may affect your ability to do a job or mean you have to pay extra work-related costs.

 

This means that conditions such as dyslexia are included, so long as you are over 16 and working, whether that is for someone else or even starting up your own business. If this is the case, then you may be eligible for an access to work grant from the government.

 

This has caused confusion among some employers, who do not quite understand how this all works or what the money can be used for.

 

Among the possible things the grant could pay for there are adaptations to existing equipment, new equipment, fares to work if public transport is not an option, a support worker or job coach to assist in the workplace, disability training for colleagues, and even a communicator to help at a job interview.

 

The reasonable steps that employers take to help disabled employees needn’t be all about money either. It could be as simple as making allowances when it comes to things like hot-desking, or letting a wheelchair user work on the ground floor.

 

The fact is, employers are under a legal obligation to make things easier in the workplace for those with a ‘disability.’ In some instances, this help can be withheld, for example in a high pressure role where safety is an issue, such as the medical profession, it may be that your disability cannot be adequately supported while still ensuring the safety of patients.

 

That said, each case is different, so it is important that employers and employees understand how access to work happens. There needs to be honest and open dialogue for this to work, which means understanding what you or your employees are eligible for.

 

There is more information on Access To Work on the government’s website, and also right here at Vocendi. So, if you are an assessor, employer, or even feel you could be eligible for assistance don’t hesitate to contact us.