10 Things Every Employer Should Know About Dyslexia & 'Neurodivergent Conditions'.
1. It's widely accepted that most dyslexic/neurodivergent individuals have strengths/positive attributes which could significantly benefit their employing organisation.
2. Lack of ‘organisation-wide’ awareness of what dyslexia and other neurodivergent conditions really are, means there is still stigma and prejudice within workplaces.
3. When individuals know where to go to find out what support is available to them within the organisation they feel safe and they usually welcome the opportunity to have a conversation about it.
4. These neurodivergent ‘conditions’ are commonly accompanied by anxiety - and an unsupportive workplace culture commonly results in lack of disclosure if & when an individual starts to experience difficulties.
5. If there is a recognised, accessible process of support in place, seeking and accessing appropriate, tailored support can be a straightforward, positive experience which is relatively low cost.
6. Reluctance to disclose when these individuals are experiencing difficulties can impact on their wellbeing…and in the longer-term, if no support is accessed, this can have a negative impact on mental health.
7. Providing appropriate, professional, workplace-focused support to neurodivergent members of staff in a supportive environment is likely to enhance wellbeing and increase engagement.
8. HR departments may assume they understand how dyslexia & other neurodivergent conditions such as dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADD… can impact within the workplace and they may believe they are meeting legal obligations but unless they have undertaken professional training with a recognised 'body' their policies may be inaccurate and their processes may not be appropriate.
9. Employees in ‘dyslexia/neurodivergent-friendly’ organisations are more likely to fulfil their potential and make valuable contributions. (It is important to remember that neurodivergent individuals have helped shape the world we live in and these include; Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Henry Ford...and many more).
10. It is estimated that dyslexic/neurodivergent individuals account for up to 18% of the population. If employing organisations are not providing appropriate support innumerable employees are likely to be ‘treading water’ (not making expected progress) at best… and if they don’t feel able to reach out when they need help there is an ‘unseen’ cost in terms risk to wellbeing and mental health as well as costs associated with reduced productivity, absenteeism etc.
Being ‘dyslexia/neurodivergent-friendly’ makes good business sense. It’s good for people and good for the employing organisation. An increasing number of employers are now starting to see the benefit of having Accredited *Dyslexia Champions within their workforce. These impartial, knowledgeable volunteers have undertaken a course of study (*which includes 7 neurodivergent ‘conditions’ and other subject areas such as listening skills, wellbeing & mental health) equipping them to be able to answer questions and provide signposting which enables people to make informed decisions about whether to seek formal support …or not.
This role has the potential to act as a catalyst for positive change and already some of these individuals are making significant contributions towards ensuring their employing organisations become more ‘dyslexia/neurodivergent-friendly’ organisations.