Frequently Asked Questions

This page contains information for the employer on Dyslexia in the Workplace, the areas covered are:

  1. Legal.
  2. Disclosing Dyslexia.
  3. When things go wrong.
  4. Organising a Diagnostic Assessment.
  5. Workplace Assessment.
  6. How to organise a Workplace Assessment.
  7. Implementing Reasonable Adjustments.
  8. Use of a Digital Recorder

 


Legal.

Dyslexia is a recognised difficulty under Equality Act 2010, replacing the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. This means that employers should ensure that disabled people are not treated unfavourably and are offered reasonable adjustments or support.

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Disclosing Dyslexia.

Many people in the workplace have not been diagnosed with dyslexia. Some may even be unaware that they have dyslexic difficulties. Others will have been assessed at some point, possibly at school, but prefer to keep things under wraps for fear of discrimination. There is no legal requirement to disclose a disability. However once the employer has been informed of an employee’s dyslexia or been given a copy of an assessment report, they are on notice that they have a duty under the Equality Act.

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When things go wrong.

The BDA Helpline receives numerous calls from distressed employees with dyslexic difficulties. Common issues are:

  • not receiving the appropriate reasonable adjustments and/or are being unsupported by line managers or colleagues.
  • Disciplinary proceedings around performance issues are frequently dyslexia related.

See Performance Reviews and Disciplinary Hearings.

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Organising a Diagnostic Assessment.

A full understanding of the individual’s profile is necessary in order to offer the most effective support. Where an employee has not been previously assessed for dyslexic difficulties (post 16 years), the first step could be for the employer to arrange for the employee to have a full diagnostic assessment. Dyslexia is a complex area of difficulty and no two people have the same profile of strengths and weaknesses or levels of severity. However in the case of a job not involving significant paperwork, a screening test such as the one linked to our website may be sufficient. This test is 90% accurate in predicting dyslexia.

Unfortunately dyslexia is not funded by the NHS and does not form part of medical training. A full diagnostic assessment should by carried out by either a suitably qualified Specialist Teacher, or a Chartered Psychologist specialising in adult dyslexia. The test usually takes 3 to 4 hours and is followed by a full written report. Costs can be between £400 to £600 + VAT, depending on the provider. 

Most large employers and those in the public sector would be expected to fund a dyslexia assessment for an employee as part of their duty under the Equality Act.

A small employer may help with the cost.

The British Dyslexia Association can organise a diagnostic assessment for you - see our Assessments page for further information. Should you wish to use an alternative provider, contact your nearest Local Dyslexia Association who may be able to provide you with a list of suitably qualified assessors in your area.

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Workplace Assessment.

Following the diagnostic assessment, (or where an employee is able to show an existing adult assessment report), a workplace assessment should be arranged with a dyslexia specialist. This will detail the most appropriate accommodations and support, (reasonable adjustments) 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. An assessment of reasonable adjustments should be carried out via a workplace assessment from a dyslexia workplace consultant.

For an understanding of dyslexia in adults and information on how an employee could be supported, see our Specific Learning Difficulties in Adults and Identifying Reasonable Adjustments.pages.

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How to organise a Workplace Assessment.

Access to Work

Workplace assessments can normally be obtained from Access to Work, part of the Jobcentre organisation; (Access to Work do not usually require a full diagnostic assessment report in order to support an employee with dyslexia, but to enable the workplace assessor to have a full understanding of the individual’s dyslexic profile, a full assessment report is often desirable). It is important to request an assessment from a qualified workplace dyslexia specialist, as sometimes Access to Work subcontract to inappropriate assessors.

The application to Access to Work should be made by the employee. There is no charge for the workplace assessment, but the cost of implementing recommended reasonable adjustment is borne by the employer up to a specific limit, depending on the size of the organisation. For costs over this limit, the employer is only required to pay 20%.

Workplace strategy training for a dyslexic employee is provided at no cost to the employer. This is a frequent recommendation from a workplace assessment.

Independent Workplace Assessment

Independent dyslexia workplace consultants can also be appointed to do an assessment. Their report can still be submitted to Access to Work for the grant to the individual for items and training recommended.

The BDA offers independent workplace assessments in many areas of the country: for further information email: assessments@bdadyslexia.org.uk

Access to Work does not service Whitehall government departments: independent workplace assessors are required.

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Implementing Reasonable Adjustments.

Reasonable Adjustments should be put in place as soon as possible. Failure to implement Reasonable Adjustments would be a breach of the Equality Act. Reasonable Adjustments are not a quick overnight remedy. Depending on the individual circumstances, it may take 2 or 3 months for measures to become embedded and for any associated training and learning to become effective. For optimum performance an individual will need to have the support of colleagues and line managers: dyslexia awareness training is essential. Dyslexic employees can be particularly prone to stress and this will exacerbate dyslexic difficulties. Where well supported, these difficulties will be less prominent.

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Use of a Digital Recorder.

Many people with dyslexia have difficulty with taking notes in meetings while at the same time listening and participating in the meeting. Use of a digital recorder should be regarded as a disability aid and a reasonable adjustment for a disability. See use of disability aids.