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What is dyslexia, and how to support people with dyslexia at work.

Last updated: 02 October 2023

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental learning condition affecting a person's reading, writing, and spelling ability.

Dyslexia is a specific learning disorder that affects an individual's ability to read, spell, and write, despite having average or above-average intelligence and access to an appropriate education. Dyslexia is believed to be caused by differences in brain development that affect how the brain processes language.

Individuals with dyslexia may have difficulty decoding words, identifying sounds in words, and reading fluently. They may also have difficulty spelling and writing and may struggle with comprehension. Dyslexia can impact academic performance, as well as social and emotional development.

How to support colleagues with dyslexia

Here are ten tips you can use to support a colleague with dyslexia:

  1. Provide clear and concise instructions. Use bullet points, numbered lists, or voice recordings to make instructions easier to follow.
  2. Be patient as dyslexia can make it difficult for your colleague to complete tasks that involve reading, writing, and spelling. Allow them extra time to complete their work, and don’t put undue pressure on them when not needed. Remember, some mistakes that are made simply cannot be seen by someone with Dyslexia.
  3. Give instructions in more than one format. Supply the instructions for a task in more than one format, such as verbal and written on hardcopy coloured paper.
  4. Use visual aids such as diagrams or flowcharts, to help your colleague understand complex concepts or tasks.
  5. Encourage regular breaks at least once every hour to give them time to mentally recharge so they are ready for their next activity.
  6. Encourage note-taking or voice recording as an appropriate means by which the person can more accurately record events and actions.
  7. Be understanding as dyslexia can be frustrating for your colleague, so it's important to be understanding and supportive.
  8. Offer support and guidance when needed. Encourage your colleague to ask questions and offer to help when they need it.
  9. Use assistive technology like text-to-speech software and encourage them to enable narration on their computer (reads text back to you) or a spell-checker.
  10. Offer a peer review checking system on important tasks that can help anyone you work with, especially someone with dyslexia. Offering a second pair of eye’s on important tasks might take some of the stress your colleague might have.

Further resources on dyslexia

The contents of this page was provided by Tristan Hunt.

About the author

Tristan HuntTristan Hunt is a renowned Music Industry ADHD Coach, working with Grammy-nominated, Mobo & Brit Award-winning artists and top brands like Pioneer DJ, BIMM, and Sony Music UK. A former AFEM Regional Manager, Tristan's two decades in the music industry and his personal experience with ADHD, dyslexia, and dyscalculia make him a trusted coach for artists and professionals with ADHD.

Certified as a Transformational Coach with specialized ADHD training, he is part of Sony Music UK’s coaching pool. He also has associations with industry giants like Lateral Mgmt and Infectious PR. His contributions to the Association For Electronic Music (AFEM) have been significant, from founding its Mental Health Working Group to serving on its Executive Board.

A recognized voice on ADHD and mental health in music, Tristan has spoken at global conferences like ADE and IMS and has been spotlighted in Billboard, DJ Mag, and the BBC. He holds degrees from Southampton and Birkbeck Universities, a coaching diploma from Animas, UK, and ADHD coach training from ADDCA, USA. Offstage, Tristan occasionally showcases his skills as a DJ.

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