Most people know that dyslexia is a learning difference which primarily affects reading and writing skills. However, dyslexia is actually about how people process information, so it can also impact people in other ways, such as remembering information or organisation skills. (Ref: British Dyslexia Association)
Dyspraxia, or Developmental Co-ordination Disorder, is a recognised medical disorder, which impairs the organisation of movement. It is also associated with problems of language, perception and thought. It affects about 10 per cent of the population – 2 to 4 per cent seriously. (Ref: Dyspraxia Foundation)
This page is designed to support staff with dyslexia/dyspraxia in the workplace, as well as managers and colleagues who would like to support colleagues with dyslexia/dyspraxia. You can find general advice on support for staff with disabilities here.
Online checklists can give you an indication of whether you would benefit from further assessment to diagnose dyslexia/dyspraxia. You can then seek advice from your GP and/or expert organisations.
Under the Equality Act 2010 employers are required to make reasonable adjustments to support employees with a disability, including dyslexia and dyspraxia.
Some examples of adjustments for dyslexia include:
- Using voicemail instead of written memos
- Offer text to speech software
- Giving reminders of important deadlines
Find more suggestions for reasonable adjustments for dyslexia here.
Some examples for dyspraxia include:
- Offer speech to text software
- Avoid tasks involving fine motor skills (such as handwriting)
- Special chair, mouse or foot rest
Find more suggestions for reasonable adjustments for dyspraxia here.
The exact nature of the adjustments will depend on how your disability affects you, and what is practical in your job and affordable for your employer.
If you would like to put reasonable adjustments in place in your work speak to your line manager. If you are not sure what would help you, you can request a referral to Occupational Health to discuss your needs and how you might be supported at work.
If the workplace cannot accommodate the adjustments, you may be entitled to Access to Work funding to pay for support or adaptations to help you stay in work.
Make reasonable adjustments
As with any disability, you as the line manager can support your staff by making reasonable adjustments to support your employees. Read our guidance on supporting staff with a disability here.
Examples and information about reasonable adjustments for dyslexia/dyspraxia can be found in the ‘How can I access support in the workplace?’ section on this page. However, it is important to remember adjustments should be tailored to how your colleague’s disability impacts them individually. Make sure you ask your colleague how they can best be supported, and offer a referral to Occupational Health to discuss their needs with a trained professional.
Learn about dyslexia/dyspraxia
You can also take steps to make sure you and your team have an awareness of dyslexia/dyspraxia:
Make sure your internal documents are digitally accessible
Staff using accessibility features such as screen readers or mouseless navigation, will run into problems if you have not made sure your internal documents are digitally accessible. It is also a legal requirement for all content available to staff, students, and the public to be digitally accessible. Find out more here.
- British Dyslexia Association: The British Dyslexia Association (BDA) has been the voice of dyslexic people since 1972. They are a membership organisation working to achieve a dyslexia-friendly society for all.
- Dyspraxia Foundation: The Dyspraxia Foundation is committed to making the teaching and medical professions more aware of dyspraxia; and to spread understanding of how those who have the condition can be helped.
- Dyspraxia UK: provides assessments and diagnosis, and is the UK specialist in the field of dyspraxia occupational therapy.
- Genius Within: Genius Within CIC is a social enterprise established by Dr Nancy Doyle in 2011 to help neurominorities unlock their talents, whilst acknowledging and celebrating that this diversity forms part of the rich tapestry of human experience.