- Careers Advice.
- Jobcentre Plus.
- Work Choice.
- Help with Starting your Own Business.
- Princes Trust.
- Organisations supporting Jobseekers with disabilities.
- Applying for Jobs and promotions
For many people, dyslexia can present a serious obstacle to finding a job. A bad experience of education may result in a lack of confidence and self-esteem. Problems with reading and writing can make it difficult to apply for jobs. It may also be difficult to do some aspects of a job without the employer making some adjustments.
1. Careers Advice.
When considering a career or a job move, it is important for the dyslexic candidate to carefully and honestly think about their strengths, weaknesses and skill sets.
What do you find difficult? There are many reasonable adjustments and types of support that can be offered to employees with dyslexic tendencies to successfully help with areas of difficulty. However, there are situations and jobs where these may not be sufficiently effective to ensure adequate performance.
Avoiding stress: People with dyslexia can be particularly prone to stress, and struggling to cope in the workplace can often lead to stress related illness.
What are you good at? It is important to choose a type of work which you would enjoy, would be good at and would be likely to play more to your strengths than your weaknesses.
Supporting the weak areas. There are many successful adjustments which can be offered to employees with dyslexic difficulties to address their weaker points, such as effective assistive software and training to help with written work and the use of a digital recorder instead of note taking. For an idea of how someone can be supported in the workplace see Dyslexia Support in the Workplace.
Many dyslexic people have above average talents in a number of important areas. While not everyone will have outstanding gifts, all will have strengths.
Skills such as big-picture thinking, lateral thinking and problem solving, visual strengths and an intuitive understanding of how things work are often the hallmarks of successful dyslexic people.
People with dyslexia are frequently successful in entrepreneurship and sales, art and design, entertainment and acting, engineering, architecture, IT, computer animation, technical and practical trades and professions.
Analyse your profile of strengths and weaknesses.
You may find it helpful to draw up a table of your strengths, your weaknesses and skill sets. Then look at the job description and see how closely you match.
National Careers Service: A government funded organisation which gives you access to information, careers advice and resources, which can help you make more effective skills, work and life choices.
Tel: 0800 100 900.
University Careers Services provide advice for Students and Graduates.
EmployAbility: an organisation providing the essential link for disabled and dyslexic students and graduates to ease the transition from education to employment, giving free guidance and advice on internship and graduate opportunities with top employers, as well as recruitment processes including how to seek disability related adjustments.
2. Jobcentre Plus.
Jobseekers who have dyslexic difficulties, whether formally diagnosed or not, would be advised to make an appointment at their local JobcentrePlus with the Disability Employment Adviser.
Dyslexic jobseekers are only required to apply for a maximum of 5 jobs per week.
Some Jobcentres have contracts with specialist providers who can support dyslexic adults. You may also be referred to organisations such as the Shaw Trust and Remploy who specialise in helping people with disability into the job market. (return to top)
3. Work Choice.
Resolving these difficulties will not always be easy. However, people with dyslexia may be eligible for help from government Work Choice scheme, via the Disability Employment Adviser.
Work Choice helps people with disabilities whose needs cannot be met through other work programmes, Access to Work or workplace adjustments. This might be because you need more specialised support to find employment or keep a job once you have started work.
If Work Choice is for you it will be tailored to meet your individual needs. It will focus on helping you achieve your full potential and moving towards being more independent. For further information see Work Choice. (return to top)
4. Help with Starting your Own Business.
If you are on Jobseekers' Allowance and want to start your own business, there is now help available through the Jobcentre. You could be offered a mentor to help with your business plan, a loan and a weekly allowance for 26 weeks. For information follow this link https://www.gov.uk/moving-from-benefits-to-work/starting-your-own-business. (return to top)
5. Princes Trust.
The Princes Trust offers courses, opportunities and support for young people who may be unemployed, struggled at school, have been in trouble with the law, or have been in care:
young people aged 14-16 years who are not expecting to receive 5 GCSEs,
young people aged 16-25 years not in education, training or working,
grants and support for people 18-30 years to become self-employed.
6. Organisations supporting Jobseekers with disabilities.
Tel: 0845 601 5878
Tel: 0300 303 3111
Email from website
Tel: 020 3242 0200
R.B.L.I. (Royal British Legion Industries)
Employment Service aims to provide employment and training for people with disabilities, regardless of whether or not they have come from and ex-Service background.
Tel: 0800 783 1144
For Graduates and Students.
Getting an Assessment for Dyslexia
1. No NHS funding.
Dyslexia is not considered a medical issue and forms no part of medical training. Although dyslexia is recognised under the Equality Act, unlike other disabilities diagnosis is not funded by the NHS. A GP would therefore not normally be able to help with funding a diagnostic assessment for dyslexia and would not have knowledge of appropriate assessors.
In a very few cases where undiagnosed dyslexic difficulties may be a significant issue in the case of serious mental health problems, it may sometimes be possible for an assessment to be funded under the NHS.
These are short tests designed to flag up the probability of dyslexic difficulties. They are not a diagnosis and do not analyse the nature of an individual’s dyslexic profile, which can vary considerably between people with dyslexia both in the nature of the particular difficulties and in their severity.
A good starting point is to complete our Adult Checklist.
We also have an excellent adult screening test linked to our website, Spot Your Potential which produces a report to save or print off. This test is estimated to be 90% accurate in predicting dyslexia.
Further extensive checklists can be obtained from http://www.workingwithdyslexia.com.
A screening test would indicate the probability of dyslexia as low, medium or high. No screening test is 100% reliable in its prediction and there may be a few false positives or false negatives. For instance, well compensated people with less severe dyslexia may not be flagged up in a screening test.
Where a checklist or screening test shows the probability of dyslexic difficulties, a full diagnostic assessment may be considered in order to inform the process of determining the most appropriate reasonable adjustments.
Dyslexia can be diagnosed by Chartered Psychologists specialising in adult dyslexia who may also be able to identify frequently co-occurring conditions such as Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia and Attention Deficit Disorder. These professionals are usually Educational or Occupational Psychologists. Occasionally Clinical Psychologists specialise in this area. Occupational Therapists often play an important part in assessment of Dyspraxia.
Assessments can also be carried out by an appropriately qualified specialist dyslexia teacher with a post graduate Diploma in Specific Learning Difficulties and an assessment Practising Certificate. They are able to make assessments of verbal and non-verbal intelligence but use different tests from those only available to Psychologists.
Full assessments for adults would take around 3 hours and would be followed by a detailed written report with broad recommendations for support and accommodations. It would not often be possible to arrange for an assessment and receive the report in a short space of time.
For Further Education, there may be the possibility of an assessment organised by the Learning Support Department of a College.
For Higher Education, some universities may fund or part-fund assessments, but this is not normally offered prior to the student starting the first year. This would therefore delay the student receiving support under the Disabled Students Allowance, which can take a considerable time to process.
Students aiming to attend university should ensure that they have an assessment report post 16 years from either an Educational Psychologist or a specialist dyslexia teacher with a Practice Certificate for assessing students at H.E. The report should include recommendations for accommodations in tests and exams.
It is a good idea to apply for the Disabled Students Allowance as soon as a provisional offer has been accepted, because of the time taken to process applications and assess individual need. The application form should be accompanied by a diagnostic assessment report from one of the above assessors.
For further information on applying for the Disabled Students Allowance, see Help for Higher Education Students.
Jobseekers who feel they may have dyslexic difficulties should discuss the possibility of an assessment with the Disability Employment Adviser at their local Jobcentre. The Jobcentre does not often offer the opportunity for formal dyslexia assessments.
Employees who may be experiencing performance issues or stress at work which may be a result of previously undiagnosed dyslexic difficulties should discuss the matter in confidence with HR/Occupational Heath/their Manager. Employers have a duty under the Equality Act to ensure that employees with disabilities (including dyslexia) are not treated unfavourably and are offered reasonable adjustments or support. For many office based jobs, a full understanding of the individual’s profile is necessary in order to offer the most effective support.
Most large employers and the public sector would be expected to fund an assessment for an employee. A smaller employer may help with the cost.
Following the diagnostic assessment, or where an employee is able to show an existing adult assessment report, a workplace needs assessment should then be arranged with a dyslexia specialist in order to determine the most appropriate accommodations, training and support that would be successful in mitigating any weak areas and reduce stress. This is not something that either the individual or the employer would be able to work out for themselves. For details see our Information Sheets on Dyslexia Support in the Workplace and Identifying Reasonable Adjustments.
For information on Chartered Psychologists specialising in adult dyslexia, please contact the nearest Local Dyslexia Association or the B.D.A. Helpline for London and other areas not covered by Local Dyslexia Associations. The British Psychological Society website has a Find a Psychologist facility.
For information on specialist teacher assessors with the Practising Certificate, these are currently awarded by PATOSS and Dyslexia Action.
Tel. 01784 222 300
1. CVs and Application Forms.
2. Should I disclose Dyslexia?.
3. Evidence of Dyslexia.
4. Accommodations in Written Tests.
6. Starting a new job.
7. Careers Advice.
8. Dyslexic Graduate Careers Advice.
1. CVs and Application Forms.
A well presented C.V. or application form is essential for a job application to progress further. You may need help with this, and it is always a good idea to get a friend or family member to proofread and check it over before it is sent off. People with dyslexia are often not good at spotting their own mistakes.
If you have difficulty with handwriting and filling in forms accurately with good spelling, you should request an electronic version from the employer. With an electronic version, you can draft your entries, spell check, and then copy and paste into the form.
Employers have an obligation under Disability Discrimination legislation to offer ‘reasonable adjustments’ to people with disabilities, including dyslexia.
If an electronic version of a form is not available, the employer could be asked to accept a C.V. instead of a handwritten form.
A good covering letter tailored to the particular application and employer is also recommended.
3. Should I disclose Dyslexia?
There is no legal obligation to disclose dyslexic difficulties, and many people feel that they would prefer to leave this information off a C.V. or application form because of possible discrimination.
Some application forms have a section asking about disabilities. Many people with dyslexia do not see themselves in this light, although they are still protected under the Disability Discrimination Act. Dyslexia is seen more as a learning difference.
If you were invited to interview, you may be required to do written tests or other assessment exercises. You may feel that disclosure would be appropriate at this point order to request accommodations, such as extra time and other arrangements, depending on the nature and severity of your particular dyslexic difficulties.
4. Evidence of Dyslexia.
If you disclose dyslexia, the employer may request a copy of an adult (post 16 years) assessment report as evidence of disability. Many people have not been formally identified as having dyslexic difficulties, and others were only assessed at school and there may be no available documentation. This can be a problem for many people as dyslexia assessments are not funded. A full diagnostic assessment may take up to a month or more to arrange and would cost several hundred pounds. See Getting a Full Assessment for Dyslexia. In some circumstances an employer may be encouraged to accept the results of a screening test such as Spot Your Potential on the B.D.A. website.
5. Accommodations in Written Tests.
If you are required to do written tests as part of the recruitment or promotion process, you may request appropriate accommodations. Extra time (+25%) is normal. In some cases you may need a specific recommendation from a suitably qualified assessor for particular accommodations in tests and exams.
On-screen tests can be very challenging for dyslexic people, as we all read less efficiently on screen. You may wish to request hard copy on a paper colour of your choice, and in a font and font size of your choice.
Multiple choice and psychometric tests can be very discriminatory for many dyslexic people, although not all. You may wish to request an alternative style of assessment.
Under stress, dyslexic difficulties can become more pronounced. For instance taking on board the questions you are being asked, remembering information, organising your reply and finding the right words may all become problematic.
Accommodations in interviews.
If you feel that you are going to have difficulty giving a good account of yourself at interview because of this, you would be entitled to ask for accommodations.
These could include:
having a list of the question areas in advance;
requesting that the interviewers ask about only one issue at a time, avoiding multiple questions;
requesting that you be offered plenty of time to reply and not be hurried;
requesting that questions relating to events are asked in chronological order, not jumping about in time (to help your memory).
Case Studies and Scenario excercises.
If the interview process includes a case study or scenario exercise, you should request the case study well in advance to give you time to process the information and prepare your views. You should be allowed to take your notes in to the interview.
In any event, careful preparation before an interview will always pay off. Try to anticipate the questions you are likely to be asked and organise your response, but avoid sounding rehearsed. You may be invited to ask some questions of your own about the job or the company: try to think of some interesting ones.
7. Starting a New Job.
You may benefit from tailor-made accommodations and support in your job. Some people with milder dyslexic difficulties may prefer to see how things go, but for others, getting the appropriate accommodations and support at the outset may be preferable. For information on this process, see Dyslexia Support in the Workplace.
Booking the tests.
The Driving Theory test.
Hazard Perception test.
Driving Tuition: Practical Tips.
Independent Driving Section.
The Driving and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) is responsible for conducting driving tests in Great Britain for cars, motorcycles, lorries, buses and other vehicles.
1.Booking the tests.
The booking process is now required to be done online wherever possible. If you have difficulty with this or need to book special accommodations in the theory test, you can phone 0300 200 1122.
Theory test booking.
Practical test booking.
2. The Driving Theory test.
Since January 2000, theory tests have been delivered using a touch screen computer. Candidates sit at individual booths. The 50 questions appear one at a time on a computer screen and candidates select their multiple choice answers by touching the screen. Candidates can also work through a practice session for up to 15 minutes to get used to the system before starting their test. We recommend that you take full advantage of the practice session.
During the test, the screen shows which of the 50 questions you are doing, and how much time you have remaining. You can change your answers. A review screen tells you how many questions you have completed, any incomplete answers (i.e. not enough choices marked) and which questions you have 'flagged' to return to later.
Candidates receive their test results, and feedback information about errors within 30 minutes of finishing the test. You will not be told about specific questions which were wrong, but only the subject area where errors occurred.
From January 2012 the driving theory test will no longer use pre-published questions in a move to stop candidates from learning answers by heart.
Until now all the questions used in the driving theory test have been published. These changes will mean that learner drivers and riders gain a better understanding of driving theory because they can no longer rely on simply learning which options are correct for individual questions. The familiar Theory Test books and software still offer revision questions for candidates to test themselves and assess their progress. They now also have exercises so learners can practise applying their knowledge on each topic to case studies. There are also new sections of revision support for motorcyclists.
3. Hazard perception test.
From 14 November 2002, the Theory test was extended to also include a hazard test. Candidates are shown a number of moving video clips filmed from a car. Each clip contains one or more developing hazards. Candidates are asked to indicate as soon as they see a hazard developing which may result in the driver taking some action, such as changing speed or direction. The sooner a response is made the higher the score. Beware of clicking too soon as this may not be registered by the system.
4. Special arrangements.
The system has the option for dyslexic candidates to listen to the test being read in English through a headset. Voice-overs in 20 other languages are available.
Dyslexic candidates can also apply to have up to double the standard 57 minutes. In practice very few candidates find that they need extra time as the standard time is generous. However some candidates may benefit from the reassurance of having extra time, even if it is not used. In order to book extra time you will need to provide evidence of dyslexic difficulties.
You need to request any special arrangements on the online form when you apply for the test. However if you forget to request the voice-over and headset, you could ask for this when you check in at the test centre.
You may be asked for evidence of dyslexia: a letter or report from a professional should explain your reading ability, i.e. a teacher, a psychologist, or Local Dyslexia Association officer. The DSA has also agreed to accept the report from our online screening test Spot Your Potential, linked to the top of the BDA Home Page. You will have to phone again for a test date after the report has been processed.
Some people with dyslexia may have significant difficulties with comprehension and need someone to explain the question in a different way, known as an Oral Language Modifier. It may be possible to book this accommodation also online.
Where a candidate is likely to experience significant anxiety in a strange environment and situation, it may be possible to arrange a prior visit to the test centre.
In extreme cases, it can be arranged for the test to be taken in the candidate’s home.
An anxious candidate may also be accompanied into the test centre for the booking-in process, by prior arrangement. It may also be possible for someone accompanying a candidate to remain in the waiting area during the test, again by prior arrangement. Only one person would be allowed to accompany the candidate.
Contact Customer Care:
Tel: 0300 200 1122
If reading a number place accurately is likely to cause problems, it would be advisable to have a letter from an optician to confirm that you have good eyesight, but that dyslexic difficulties may cause reading errors.
Candidates with a dyslexia visual stress difficulty are entitled to accommodations when asked to read a number plate.
If you have a visual stress difficulty which makes it hard to read letters and numbers on a white background, you may find this easier on the rear yellow number plate.
If you find it difficult to read the letters and numbers out loud, you could also write them down.
The examiner can also measure out the distance exactly between the candidate and the number plate to ensure that it is not too far away.
For the practical test, you would be entitled to ask for accommodations which would help you personally, such as the examiner indicating left and right with hand gestures rather than relying solely on left/right verbal instructions.
Additionally, you can also ask for the exit numbers on roundabouts to be given.
It would be advisable to discuss with your instructor what accommodations it would be appropriate to ask for, particularly when it comes to the Independent Driving section. You can advise the examiner which independent drive you want to do.
Your instructor can perform mock testing of the three types of independent test to determine which is best for you.
Following diagrams (up to three sets).
Following road signs to a specific location (maybe one location and then a second one).
A combination of 1 and 2.
The driving test is not a memory test: you are allowed to ask the examiner to remind you which way you are required to go on the independent section of the test. So, if you have forgotten, ask them in plenty of time so you can perform the turn with time to do your mirror, signal, position, speed, look.
Remember that if you go the wrong way by mistake, you will not be penalised for it.
If you became stressed, you could ask for the test to be stopped for a few minutes while you regain your composure.
The examiner may even stop the independent section and continue the test with normal direction instructions. Again you will not be penalised.
5. Dyslexic drivers.
Throughout the individual’s ‘journey’ in learning to drive, aspects of dyslexia should be positively looked for in order to provide the required support. Many adults do not know they are dyslexic as it was not identified when they were at school.
Research and comments by Rod Nicholson were interpreted as suggesting that dyslexics were bad drivers. This is not correct as Prof Nicholson explained. It takes some dyslexics longer to develop automaticity in tasks such as driving. They may have to concentrate harder. They may not be able to talk with a passenger at the same time as driving.
Other dyslexic difficulties which may impact on learning to drive include:
Weak short term and working memory (holding on to and applying information).
Auditory processing: taking on board what is being said quickly.
Difficulty with focusing, easily distracted.
Difficulty identifying left from right.
Visual distraction, visual memory issues.
Slower processing speed in the brain.
Sequencing problems: getting information in the right order.
Dyslexia and learning to drive.
The deficits of dyslexia may have a significant effect on learning but with appropriate teaching, this can be mitigated. It may take the dyslexic learner longer to learn to drive, and they may need more than one attempt to pass the practical test.
The key is to use multi sensory learning and to ensure that new information or skills are heavily embedded. For example, if someone has poor visual memory, then use their auditory or tactile memory to compensate. They are likely to need lots of reinforcement to embed learning from the short term memory but most dyslexic people have excellent long term memories so they need to be able to make use of this.
Make sure the learner is not overloaded with instructions as this causes real problems for those with a weaker working memory; little and often is a good mantra.
Watch out for those with weak spatial awareness or lack of recognition of left and right: – use hand gestures to indicate direction. When it comes to the test, the candidate should ask the examiner to use these gestures, and remind them if they forget.
For helping an individual to memorise something, get them to suggest a memory peg such as a rhyme or a picture they can visualise, or something very zany; all this helps make the memory more memorable.
6. Driving Tuition: Practical Tips.
Consider learning on and taking the test in an automatic car. This means that the dyslexic driver can concentrate on other aspects of driving rather than struggle with getting automaticity on a manual car. The dyslexic driver can learn to use a manually geared car once all the other aspects of road awareness are secure.
The learner should explain any particular difficulties or preferences to the driving instructor and ways of instruction which may be helpful.
Before the lesson begins, discuss what the lesson will cover.
Do not give too many instructions at once: give only one at a time if possible.
Use coloured stickers on the dashboard to indicate left and right.
Use hand movements to indicate which way to turn.
Practice off-road or on quiet roads as much as possible so that the dyslexic learner is not distracted by other road users, while getting to grips with basic car handling.
Use the same route for a while until the driver feels more confident: add new routes a few at a time.
If possible, use a driving simulator before attempting to drive on roads and for hazard training.
Make sure the Examiner knows that the candidate is dyslexic and may have special requirements for left/right instructions.
It is not unusual to fail the test more than twice: be prepared for several attempts.
Spacial Awareness, Reversing and Parking.
Dyslexic people often find it difficult to envisage space, so overall strategy is don’t think: feel small, smooth movements of the wheel, rather than spinning the steering wheel.
Hold the wheel as if handlebars: this avoids frantic spinning and oversteering.
Practise steering by wheeling a bike along a curved line, e.g. uncoiled garden hose.
Reverse slowly: “heel/toe” pace.
Pause between movements to do observations: this helps keep control.
Use side mirror (tilt down slightly) to look at kerb, whilst checking rear mirror.
Look over shoulder towards the kerb, if going towards the kerb: turn away when going away from the kerb rather than trying to remember left/right.
Talk movements out aloud when practising.
7. Independent Driving Section.
Following discussions between the BDA and the DSA, examiners will offer adjustments to dyslexic candidates. These will depend on the particular difficulties the dyslexic person has, as all are different. So examiners will be asking the candidate what adjustments they require. These will include:
- Asking the person’s preference for verbal directions or for following signs during the independent driving section.
- Showing a simple diagram before the independent driving section; this will be reproduced on cream vellum paper which cuts down on visual distraction.
- If helpful, adding visual clues to the diagram, such as a supermarket or petrol station on route, or telling the candidate the number of the exit point on roundabouts (for example, ‘It’s the third exit’).
- Using landmarks such as ‘take the first left, it’s just past the cinema’.
- Continuing to give directions singly throughout the driving test, and for the independent driving section, giving no more than two directions at a time.
- Indicating with hand gestures to accompany verbal directions for left and right.
Examiners are there to assess the person’s ability to drive safely – not their ability to remember directions. If the candidate needs to check with the examiner that they are going the right way, they can do so.
Examiners ask all candidates if they would like to take their driving instructor, or the person who has accompanied them, with them on their driving test. For someone with dyslexia it may really help having someone there in the car to calm their nerves (dyslexic difficulties can become very pronounced under stress).
DSA has confirmed that driving examiners conduct thousands of driving tests every year and are very experienced and skilled in dealing with candidates with all sorts of special needs. They are also very aware that people can be nervous and will make every effort to put all candidates at ease.
8.Resources and Publications.
The Official DSA Theory Test for Car Drivers DVD-ROM. This DVD-ROM contains every official theory test revision question plus the official DSA explanations of the answers and practice case studies. It is the closest experience to the actual test, with loads of extra help to understand the theory and a helpful voiceover option. Includes a digital version of The Official Highway Code with downloadable audio.
The Official DSA Theory Test for Car Drivers and The Official Highway Code. The only official theory test book for car drivers. It contains every official theory test revision question, explanations of the answers to help you understand the theory and practice case studies. Includes The Official Highway Code and a free eBook download for thorough test preparation.
The Official DSA Guide to Hazard Perception DVD. The only official interactive DVD for all learner drivers and motorcyclists. Includes official DSA video clips to help you prepare fully for your theory and practical tests.
Driving Standards Agency (DSA) online official Theory Practice Tests. Official revision questions covering a variety of topics relating to road safety. As in the real test, these tests use a mix of 50 multiple choice questions to test your overall knowledge.
Road Code. A Highway Code for Younger Road Users has been written with the needs of young people in mind, and contains the latest and best guidance on cycling proficiency, the GREEN CROSS CODE and general "ROAD-CODE".
The Official Highway Code. The Official Highway Code is essential reading for all new and experienced road users: pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists as well as motorcyclists and drivers.
The Official Highway Code Interactive CD-ROM.
This fully searchable, interactive CD-ROM features quizzes and games to help bring The Highway Code to life and provide a thorough understanding of road safety and best practice. Includes a helpful voiceover option.
Official DSA publications including books, DVD-ROMS, DVDs and downloads are available from The Stationery Office (TSO) and from all good high street and online book stores.
Tel: 0870 243 0123
The DSA has launched its first iPhone apps: Theory Test for Car Drivers Kit, for theory test revision. It also has 10 hazard perception clips for the pupil to watch and practice.
Available from the iTunes Store
Driving Test Success by Focus Software highly recommended by driving instructors experienced in candidates with specific learning difficulties. Available from Amazon. Also in some high street retailers.
L of a way 2 Pass, by Diane Hall, available on Amazon.