Frequently Asked Questions
Adults and Employment
You may also the find the information you are seeking on our information section for Adults and Employment
A. You may like to look at the information sheets suggested above for a general description of dyslexia and how dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties present in adults. You will also find an information sheet: Adult Checklist. This is a mini screening test which would show the probability of dyslexia.
We also have a more rigorous online screening test linked to the top of our Home Page. This test costs £25 plus VAT to do, will take around 20 minutes and comes up with a report showing the probability of dyslexic difficulties. This test is around 90% accurate. In a few cases, some well compensated people may not show up as clearly as they should on this type of test. A screening test is not a diagnosis.
Currently, diagnostic dyslexia assessments are not funded by the NHS and would cost around £3-500. They take around 3 hours and are followed by a full written report with recommendations for support. They are carried out by Chartered Psychologists specialising in adult dyslexia (Educational, Occupational or sometimes Clinical Psychologists) or specialist dyslexia teachers with a Practising Certificate.
A. Unfortunately not. Some colleges and universities may fund assessments for students, and large employers and those in the public sector would be expected to fund assessments for more qualified staff, (an Employment Tribunal would expect this as it would be considered to be a reasonable adjustment).
A. You could contact your nearest Local Dyslexia Association for recommendations.
If there is no Association in your area, contact the BDA Helpline Further recommendations can be obtained from the British Psychological Society: tel. 0116 254 9568
For specialist teacher assessors qualified to assess adults, or the professional association of specialist teachers, PATOSS tel. 01386 712 650, or contact the BDA, 01344 381 560.
A. Around 35-40% of people with dyslexia suffer with a visual stress difficulty where text appears to move around or look distorted in some way. Coloured filters, either as overlays or glasses with coloured tinted lenses have been found to helpful. Coloured filters will help to make the text visually clearer and more comfortable to see, and therefore can make reading more efficient, but they will not teach someone to read.
For information on eyes and dyslexia and specialist practitioners, see Eyes and Dyslexia
A. Yes. It is recognised difficulty under the Equality Act (formerly the Disability Discrimination Act). See Disability Discrimination Legislation
A. There is no legal obligation to disclose dyslexic difficulties, although in some circumstances this may be advisable: see Applying for Jobs and Promotion
A. For employment issues, you could search for an Employment Lawyer specialising in disability discrimination. Some may offer a contingency fee basis (no win, no fee).
For other areas of discrimination, it may be hard to get legal aid. The Equality and Human Rights Commission would only be able to help in groundbreaking cases, but they do not normally take on individual cases.
In some cases, the Disability Law Service may be able to advise.
Contact the BDA Helpline for advice.
A. Courts and organisations in the justice system should offer accommodations to people with disabilities, including specific learning difficulties like dyslexia. See http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/about-dyslexia/adults-and-business/coping-with-justice-system.html.
Detailed information can be found in the ‘Guide for Justice Professionals on supporting people with specific learning difficulties’, a joint publication between the BDA and DANDA.
A copy of the Guide can be obtained from the BDA online shop.
A companion publication for individuals, called ‘Coping in the Courts’ can be obtained as a pdf version from http://www.dyslexia-malvern.co.uk
A. Make an appointment to see the Disability Employment Adviser at your local JobcentrePlus office.
See Help in Finding a Job
A. We are so disappointed that there is very little help available. Some Jobcentres may be able to refer dyslexic jobseekers to specialist providers through the Disability Employment Adviser.
Have a look at Work Choice, a scheme to offer specialised help to people to find employment or keep a job once you have started work.
For careers advice, the National Careers Service gives you access to information, careers advice and resources, which can help you make more effective skills, work and life choices.
You could also contact your nearest Local Dyslexia Association to find out what may be available locally.
Very occasionally Community Education classes run by Local Authority Skills for Life may offer specialist dyslexia tutors, but sadly this is not the norm.
Your local library may have information on classes.
For further information see Help in Finding a Job
A. If the employee has not been previously diagnosed with dyslexic difficulties, an assessment would be the first step, followed by a workplace needs assessment from a dyslexia workplace specialist to determine what accommodations (known as reasonable adjustments) would be successful in mitigating any dyslexic weaknesses.
For summary of this process see Dyslexia in the Workplace, and also Identifying Reasonable Adjustments.
Unaddressed dyslexic difficulties can lead to performance issues and even disciplinary hearings.
You would also find it helpful to purchase a copy of the BDA ‘Code of Practice for Employers’, which offers helpful guidelines. This can be obtained from the BDA online shop.
A. Dyslexia is a recognised difficulty under the Equality Act, which means that your employer has a duty to support you. Make an appointment in confidence to see someone in HR or Personnel or Occupational Health or whoever would be the appropriate person to help. You may need to have a professional diagnostic assessment, and then a workplace needs assessment to see exactly how you can be helped:
As many employers are unfamiliar with this area of difficulty in the workplace, this summary would be helpful for your employer: Dyslexia in the Workplace
A. It is a breach of disability legislation to discriminate against someone with a disability in the field of employment: see Equality Act
An employer has a duty to investigate the employee’s difficulties and then implement recommended reasonable adjustments. If after a suitable length of time these prove to be insufficient in improving performance, then the employer should see if there is alternative employment within the organisation which would be more appropriate. If there is none, only then could the employee be asked to leave.
A. Where someone is unable to take notes effectively because of a disability, then the use of a digital recorder should be allowed as a disability aid. For further information on this, which may be useful to show an employer, see the BDA statement on use of disability aids.
A. If you are required to do a test on-screen, this can be very discriminatory as we all read less easily on-screen, so for the dyslexic candidate this can be a significant issue. It may be necessary to go back to your assessor for specific recommendations of accommodations in this type of test. Apart from extra time, these could include hard copy on a paper colour of your choice in a large sans serif font. Text reading software could be helpful. If the exam requires you to put the answer number in a grid instead of circling or ticking the answer, this can cause tracking errors. You could ask to circle the answer on the paper and for someone else to transfer the answers to the grid. For further advice on tackling Multiple Choice exams, see Tackling MCQs