How to better support dyslexic employees with written communication

On Neurodiversity Celebration Week (15-21 March 2021), Design and Experience Director Danny Seals shares his personal insights on the four qualities needed to support dyslexic people with their written communication.16th Mar 20211 commentDyslexia support CraigRJD/iStock

I have always been lucky enough to have a support network from a young age, be it my brothers, parents and friends growing up, however at the time I can safely say it didn’t feel like a support network.

If anything it felt like a group of nitpicking folk who would drive me crazy about my spelling and reading, always flagging up my errors and constantly saying I need to try harder. How were they to know that no matter how hard I tried, I wouldn’t be able to fix it… don’t get me wrong, at this time dyslexia wasn’t ever on their radar.

While it’s near impossible for a non-dyslexic to understand the world through a dyslexic’s eyes, there are some universal feelings that everyone can relate to.

It’s only in the last 15 years that my mindset has changed on this group of people. No longer do I see them in such a negative way. If anything they are hugely important to me and make my life a little easier when it comes to doing grown up stuff like writing – these people now have a place near and dear to my heart.

My support network consists of around five different people and a group of selected tools that work for me 80% of the time, which I will come to later.

When reflecting on the people within my support network, I can think of four attributes they have by the bucket load. Whether you’re dyslexic and looking for your own support network or you’re an L&D professional, people manager or team member looking to better support a fellow colleague with dyslexia, here’s what’s needed:

1. Empathy

While it’s near impossible for a non-dyslexic to understand the world through a dyslexic’s eyes, there are some universal feelings that everyone can relate to. These include frustration, anger and a general feeling of being overwhelmed, which are all the emotions and feelings I experience when writing.

In the past I have made the mistake of asking people who couldn’t empathise with why I was feeling all of these things or why my spelling was so bad. I quickly realised these are the people not to add in my support network.

However, at the opposite end of that spectrum are the angels that do get it. For example when I am still up at 10pm writing something I started at 1pm, they understand why I am frustrated, why I can talk about this stuff all day long but to write about it is a nightmare. They also allow me to vent and, more importantly, they understand and share my feelings as best they can.

2. Humour

Humour is a big one for me, not only because it is one of my personal coping mechanisms with dyslexia but because sometimes when you’re frustrated, after reading your 2,000 word article for the 50th time, the people who are in your support network will see that and address it in the best way possible with laughter and humour. I also find it works well when they are fed up of reading the same article for the 50th time too.

3. Patience

A dyslexic’s support network needs patience and a lot of it. When proofing any written work, the chances are what they are seeing is a lot of made up words with no punctuation or maybe the punctuation is being used like it’s going out of fashion a,bit,like this.

Their skills to not only navigate through this minefield but also come out of it with some form of story (and actually sing your praises) is something you only see in angels.

They also need patience when self-doubt kicks in for the person with dyslexia. There’s been many a time I’ve handed over my next masterpiece to my support network to have them read and edit, then edit again. 

4. Trust

This is the big one for a few different reasons. Not only do I need to trust that my support network won’t laugh when they read my post, I also need to trust them to be honest and tell me if what I’ve written is bad.

Not everyone is open about their dyslexia and I sometimes think this is half the battle. In day-to-day life dyslexia can be invisible to others, so to open up and trust that the people you go to for help are the trustiest kind is such a huge deal.

Get the latest insights, advice and opinion on the world of learning from TrainingZone

Enter your email address to receive our twice-weekly newsletter.Enter email address *Enter email addressSign up 

Useful tools

So the key to helping a dyslexic colleague or friend thrive with their written work revolves around empathy, humour, patience and trust.

Of course, there are other tips and tricks that can be useful for those with dyslexia when it comes to actually getting the words written down.

People with dyslexia may respond better to different page colours and so should consider changing their screen/background colour to suit this. They also may find this free dyslexic font tool helpful too. While it doesn’t catch everything, Grammarly is also a really helpful tool to install for spelling and grammar checking. Another option is to use a dictation tool as an alternative to typing.

But while these tools are helpful, a support network is paramount to overcoming self-doubt, boosting confidence and empowering a dyslexic person to more frequently put pen to proverbial paper.

For further information to support adults with dyslexia visit Dyslexic.org.

Source: https://www.trainingzone.co.uk/develop/talent/how-to-better-support-dyslexic-employees-with-written-communication

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Craig has been a brilliant supporter, very professional, friendly, approachable and excellent communication throughout. Craig has gone out of his way to provide assistance, this has been a great aid for dealing with all my education difficulties and I really appreciate. Couldn’t ask for a better service, I highly recommend.

Would totally recommend Develop us, made my son feel at ease. Having the assessment done in the comfort of his own surroundings I think was a big help. My son actually enjoy his day and didn’t seem stressed or worried about the assessments. Craig was so helpful and still is a month on sending me useful links etc. Thank you so much.

Craig has been a great help, he’s been considerate and clear throughout and provided further support. Craig has gone out of his way to provide guidance and assistance, which has been a huge comfort and aid for dealing with workplace and personal issues, for which I am wholly grateful and highly recommend his services.

I recently had an assessment as an adult for dyspraxia or Developmental Co-ordination Disorder after self-referring. Craig was brilliant throughout. Great to deal with, understanding of my needs, and very supportive. He gave me a comprehensive assessment and communicated to me the whole process in an easy to understand manner. The final report was well written and I now have the evidence I need to get support in the workplace. I would highly recommend him and Develop Us

Craig is very patient and maintained really excellent communication throughout the whole process. During his assessment he was professional and patient, and pulled out all the stops to get his report to us ASAP. Highly recommended.

Craig has been a brilliant supporter, very professional, friendly, approachable and excellent communication throughout. Craig has gone out of his way to provide assistance, this has been a great aid for dealing with all my education difficulties and I really appreciate. Couldn’t ask for a better service, I highly recommend.

Craig has been a fantastic support with my son, Craig offers a wealth of knowledge, experience and great advice. Craig is enthusiastic and has a great deal of patience with the people he supports, I would have no hesitation in recommending his services and wish him all the best in the future.

Craig has been a Godsend to myself and my husband and my eldest daughter who was diagnosed. I am glad I asked for Craig’s professional opinion on the matter.  I am glad he did the assessment and we got the outcome of what we have thought it was for a while now. Thank you Craig.

I am a student who has been receiving support and tutoring from Craig since November 2018. Since receiving tutorial support from Craig, I have progressed onto high-level courses and an access course which has helped with my studies, knowledge and work. Craig has shown me support and helped make my course work manageable. I feel that I have been able to turn to Craig with any question or doubt and have received nothing but clarity and guidance. Without Craig’s help and support I do not think I would have the courage and ability to complete the courses and progress to higher levels. I have had support off Craig for a variety of courses and with work advise.

I feel that Craig has given me the confidence to take steps in my life that I would not have made on my own. Craig has not only been friendly and supporting, but has also been very professional, reliable and organised with the help he has given me.

Student

Craig engages with his students in a way that is both professional and clear and thus gains the most of the time spent in his classes.

Student
Open chat
Message us on Whatsapp