A brief history of the Accredited Dyslexia Champions™
The Dyslexia Champions™ training & accreditation programme was launched in 2017 at Imperial College London. The programme was designed to equip individuals with the necessary skills to enable them to listen, inform and guide their neurodivergent colleagues towards specialist support. These volunteers provide a place of ‘safety’ where individuals can speak about work-related challenges and find out what screening and support might be available to them …and therefore enable them to make informed decisions.
Imperial College London already had a comprehensive process of support in place which staff could access via the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Centre (EDIC) however it was found that people were delaying accessing this, fearful it could have a negative impact on their career progression etc. Therefore, the role of an Accredited Dyslexia Champion – the knowledgeable, qualified and impartial first point of contact, who could provide some initial ‘First Aid’ (hints and tips), was seen to be an important addition to the overall support process.
There are now Accredited Dyslexia Champions in a number of organisations, including Barts Health NHS, Alder Hey NHS Trust, UCL, UNISON… all making a real difference in terms of psychological safety and helping to ensure people do not struggle in silence.
We (Right Resources Limited UK and the Accredited Dyslexia Champions) are proud to have been short-listed in the Neurodiversity category of the Employer’s Network for Equality & Inclusion (ENEI) Awards 2019 – (with Right Resources Limited UK being the only ‘support provider’ shortlisted alongside 4 major employing organisations). This I believe is testament to the value of this role.
In their training the Accredited Dyslexia Champions cover the following subjects; dyslexia and neurodivergent ‘conditions’ from a workplace perspective, wellbeing related to this, legal considerations, what a process of support might look like and listening skills. We use blended learning with two workshop days, 3 webinars and two sessions of one to one mentoring during the personal study period when they complete an OCN Level 2 assignment entitled Neurodiversity - pathways to support.
Thank you to all the Accredited Dyslexia Champions - you are making a real difference in helping to ensure neurodivergent colleagues feel supported …and encouraging your workplaces to become neuro-inclusive.