Tag Archives: employees

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.

 

Dyslexia Is Not An Illness Or An Injury

Dyslexia is not an illness or an injury – it is not something that you can ‘get better’ from, but is a learning difference which means you need to approach some things differently. Nor does dyslexia mean that you are ‘less intelligent’ than someone else – but using the same judgments for those with and those without dyslexia creates an unfair playing field.

 

Perhaps to use physical terms (even though your brain is, in effect, just another organ) you wouldn’t ask someone with poor eyesight to just try to look harder or someone who was wheelchair-bound that they just weren’t trying hard enough.

 

Instead, just like wearing glasses, people with dyslexia may need some assistance with some tasks. Again, like those glasses you may use to help you see, so there is technology available to help those with learning differences like dyslexia to get along in a world that isn’t always designed to suit.

 

The law requires that workplaces make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to help those with dyslexia to do their job and the range of support available to students has never been better, yet there still remains a great level of misunderstanding about things like dyslexia.

 

If these types of difference are not recognised and acted upon then we will continue to see a society where those with dyslexia, autism, ADHD and other similar neurodiversities will be marginalised or simply treated as being ‘stupid.’

 

In fact, tests have shown this to be far from the case, and some employers are going out of their way to court neurodivergent employees in order to make the most of any differences in thought pattern and levels of creativity.

 

So, rather than seeing those with dyslexia as having something ‘wrong’ with them, like a broken leg that can be set and fixed, we need to recognise that dyslexia is merely a difference – just like your hair or eye colour, except that it is a difference with how your brain is wired. Not better, not worse, just different – with its own benefits and drawbacks.

 

Dyslexia is not something that we need to ‘cure,’ it is something that we need to accommodate in a world that all-too-often is just not designed with dyslexics in mind. Only when we do this can we unlock potential and fully appreciate the great benefits that neurodiversity can bring.

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!

Seeking The Strengths Of Neurodiversity

When people think of conditions such as dyslexia they tend to focus on the difficulties associated with them. However, neurodiverse minds have a great many strengths too – if you can only recognise them.

 

While some patterns of thought and neurodiversities can make certain tasks more difficult, they can equally be of benefit in other areas. For example, while it is something of a stereotype, high tech companies have been known to actively seek out and engage employees with autistic traits, having found that these employees can have a great deal to offer if given the right support and impetus.

 

Of course, to judge everyone with autism or dyslexia as being similar is wrong, but if global leaders like Microsoft can recognise the benefits of a diverse workplace then why can’t smaller firms follow suit?

 

This may mean implementing a few extra levels of support – such as text to speech software or even altering the working environment to better suit different employees, but these small changes and additions to can make all the difference and unlock the real benefits of a more neurodiverse workforce.

 

With different mindsets come different opinions and approaches to problem-solving which can reap rewards for the forward-thinking business. Indeed, it is not just about the strengths associated with a neurodiverse workforce but can be about the weaknesses too!

 

When we tackle something challenging we may be forced to find alternative solutions. This ‘thinking outside the box’ approach to a problem or situation can open up previously unseen avenues for development or growth – something that may have been missed if everyone was of a similar mindset.

 

As with any employee, the trick is to work towards the strengths of staff rather than trying to fit square pegs into round holes. This is not to say that people can’t develop (as we all can), but rather it is worth recognising and using existing strengths where possible.  While someone with Asperger’s, for example, may not be the best communicator, they can bring a dedication and a focus that is hard to ignore.

 

Just as out bodies are different so are our minds, which offers us all various strengths and weaknesses to work with or improve upon. Rather than seeing neurodiversity as an abnormality, we should recognise this as just another difference in how we are wired. Different doesn’t mean bad – it simply means different – and the sooner we can all recognise that, the better!