DYSLEXICS IN THE WORKFORCE:
STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES AND
In the previous chapter, the concept of reasonable adjustment, as it relates to the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995, was outlined and explained. This chapter examines the type and range of workplace adjustments that are appropriate for dyslexic adults. As opposed to focusing on reasonable adjustment as a legal requirement, this chapter examines it as a common-sense measure that employers should take in order to get the best from their employees. The chapter starts with an outline of the benefits, direct and indirect, of having dyslexic people in the workforce. Following this is an outline of how dyslexic work performance can be improved by introducing changes to the physical, social and psychological aspects of the work environment. Details of how human-resource management procedures and systems can be modified to accommodate dyslexic employees are examined in detail. The possible and likely advantages, for the workforce generally, of all the adjustments detailed are discussed.
In focusing on how to make reasonable adjustments for dyslexic employees, there is a danger of reinforcing the false belief that dyslexic employees bring to the workplace nothing more than problems to be solved. The common perception of dyslexia as a condition that creates problems for the individual and all those associated with the person in question is inaccurate and misleading. As we have seen in Chapter 2, many of the problems associated with dyslexia are created by society, and they are not an unavoidable outcome of the condition. It is more constructive to consider dyslexia as being characterised by differences than deficits. This is not to deny that, in general, dyslexics tend to be weaker in some areas than non-dyslexics, but rather to emphasise the fact that they have strengths as well. Most people are not aware of dyslexic strengths, but they are both significant and well established.