Coping with Dyslexia at Work
Dyslexia is a difficult condition to deal with at any time but if you’re an adult at work, it can even become more stressful unless you have the support of fellow workers and your boss and you take advantage of some useful methods to help make your work easier.
Tell Your Boss and Co-WorkersToo many people feel embarrassed or nervous about telling their boss and co-workers that they suffer from dyslexia and try to hide it but there’s no need to feel like that.
It’s important to remember that dyslexia is a disability just like any other and, as such, your work colleagues and your boss should be understanding about the difficulties you might be faced with and it’s their duty to do all they can to support you and to offer you any practical assistance to make it easier for you to get on with your job.
The range of difficulties you might be faced with in work if you have dyslexia will vary depending on the nature of the job you do and the severity of your dyslexia but here are some useful tips for coping with some of the more common problems.
Written CommunicationAlthough we’re all used to sending e-mails and instant messages, if you’re job involved communicating on a regular basis, you could think about substituting written correspondence with things like using voicemail and verbal instructions. If you have to send e-mails, use the computer’s spellchecker and grammar corrector. Sometimes, enlarging the text on the computer screen will make things easier.
Verbal InstructionsKeep a pen and paper handy to jot things down if you find it difficult to remember certain instructions. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the person giving you the instructions if there is something you’re not quite sure of.
Recording verbal instructions via a Dictaphone or some other kind of recording device can also be useful as it will enable you to playback the instructions over and over, if you find that you’re getting confused. If you need to use the telephone as part of your work, you’ll often find it easier if you jot down some points of discussion before making the call.
Time Management and Work PlanningIf you find it difficult to maintain your concentration or to stay organised, get a desk planner or an online planner into which you can schedule ‘to do’ lists, for example, meetings and reports whereby you can set personal reminders about the tasks you have ahead of you.
Use colourful tabs to prioritise your work. For example, red could mean that you have something to do which you must complete as a matter of urgency whereas green might be tasks you can put of until the end of the week. Also, try to keep your workspace clean and tidy so you can locate things easier and more quickly and keep regularly used items in a place that is easily visible so you can lay your hands on them quicker.
If it’s possible, try to find a quiet place to work in which you won’t get distracted by others. Perhaps your employer might even allow you to work from home for part of the week.
Getting AroundIf your work involves you moving from place to place, always give yourself plenty of time for your journey if your dyslexia causes confusion when it comes to directions. If there are places you visit regularly as part of your job, always try to use the same route.
Of course, it’s not possible to cover every possible problem associated with dyslexia you might encounter in the workplace as all jobs are different. However, the important thing is to make a list of all of the things that you find difficult about your job and talk these through with your health and safety advisor or your boss who should be prepared to take whatever reasonable action is necessary to make the workplace easier for you to cope with.