In the workplace
Reasonable Adjustments in the workplace
Employers have a legal responsibility to make Reasonable Adjustments to the workplace to enable their dyslexic employees to carry out their roles to a satisfactory standard.
A Reasonable Adjustment is a change to the working environment or way of working. What is 'reasonable' will depend on the employee's difficulties, the employer's resources and how practicable the changes are.
Many Reasonable Adjustments are simple inexpensive changes that are easy to implement. They can be suggested (or requested) by either the employer or the member of staff.
Workplace Needs Assessments
It is advised that specialist advice is taken, and a Workplace Needs Assessment (WNA) is carried out to determine the most appropriate adjustments for an employee. To find out more about a WNA visit the BDA Assessments webpage..
When looking to make Reasonable Adjustments an employer may feel they need more information about an employee's specific difficulties in order to support them effectively.
To identify job and training requirements that are likely to be the most successful in supporting areas of difficulty, the employer may need to identify:
- The nature of the individual's dyslexia; this would be obtained from a Diagnostic Assessment. See the BDA Assessments webpage.
- The requirements of the job; which should be obtained through a Workplace Needs Assessment.
- The working environment and working practices and any impact on performance.
- The requirements of any associated training and assessment.
Access to Work
If the Reasonable Adjustments put in place by your employer do not provide sufficient support, you may be able to get help from Access to Work. To apply for Access to Work you need to have a paid job, or be about to start or return to one.
An Access to Work grant can pay for:
- Special equipment, adaptations or support worker services to help you do things like answer the phone or go to meetings
- Help getting to and from work
- Dyslexia awareness training for colleagues and strategy training, both of which can be put in place immediately
Examples of reasonable adjustments
We've put together some suggestions to help with difficulties with:
- Give verbal as well as written instructions
- Highlight important points in documents
- Use voicemail rather than written memos
- Supply screen-reading software or a Reading Pen
- Print resources on coloured paper, and change background colour of computer screens and presentations
Reading and writing
- Allow plenty of time to read and complete a task
- Discuss the material with the employee, giving summaries and/or key points
- Present information in other formats e.g. audio or video, drawings, diagrams and flowcharts
- Offer/use mind-mapping software
- Offer/use digital recorders
- Offer/use speech to text software
- Ask someone else to take the Minutes of meetings
Spelling and grammar
- Spell checker on all computers
- Offer assistive text software on all applications, where possible
- Change background colour of screen to suit individual preference
- Supply anti-glare screen filter
- Allow frequent breaks, at least every hour
- Alternate computer work with other tasks where possible
- Avoid continuous all day computer work
- Give instructions one at a time, slowly and clearly without distractions
- Write down important information or encourage the employee to take notes
- Write a memo outlining a plan of action
- Provide a digital recorder to record presentations/training
- Check understanding
- Make sure there is a quiet space available away from distractions such as doors, busy phones, loud machinery
- Allocate a private workspace if possible
- Allow an employee to work from home occasionally, if possible
- Use a “do not disturb” sign when tasks require intense concentration
- If interrupting, allow the person to pause and write down what they are doing to refer to when resuming work
Appointments and deadlines
- Remind the person of important deadlines and review priorities regularly
- Encourage the employee to use the daily calendar and alarm features on his/her computer or work phone.
Tips for organisation of property
- Ensure that work areas are organised, neat and tidy
- Keep items where they can be clearly seen for example shelves and bulletin boards
- Ensure the team returns important items to the same place each time
- Colour code items, if appropriate
- Ensure work areas are well lit
- Prioritise important tasks
- Create a daily, dated “To Do” list
- Use and share diaries
- Write a layout for regular tasks with appropriate prompts for example for meetings or taking notes
- Build planning time into each day
Supporting directional difficulties
- Always try to use the same route
- Show the route and visible landmarks
- Give time to practise going from one place to another
- Supply detailed maps
- Supply GPS car navigation system