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Students with dyslexia face challenges transitioning to the workplace, but with support they can thrive

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Transitioning from university to the workplace is a critical period in anyone's life, but it can be especially challenging for students with dyslexia. While academic settings often offer accommodations for people with dyslexia, professional environments often fall short on such support systems.

Fortunately, there are strategic interventions that can be established in workplaces to help individuals with not only adapt, but excel in their careers.

It is estimated that up to 20% of the population has dyslexia and 80% of people with a learning disability have dyslexia, making it the most common . Dyslexia impacts a person's reading and spelling abilities, but does not impact their overall intelligence.

People with dyslexia have unique strengths that can be valuable in the workplace. With workplaces increasingly placing importance on diversity and inclusion, understanding and supporting employees with dyslexia is crucial not only for the individual success of employees, but for organizational effectiveness of workplaces at large.

Transitioning from university to the workplace

Universities often provide resources like extra time on exams, specialized tutoring and alternative formats to materials (for example, recordings, alternate text formats and videos with subtitles).

Unfortunately, these accommodations and support are less readily available in the workplace. This change in accommodations and support can be stressful and impact the performance of new employees with dyslexia.

Common workplace tasks such as reading lengthy emails, writing detailed reports or following multi-step instructions can be more time-consuming and lead to mistakes for individuals with dyslexia. This is not because of a lack of skill or intelligence, but rather stems from differences in the way individuals with dyslexia process information.

Employers should recognize the challenges faced by employees with dyslexia and implement accommodations to ensure for success in the workplace.

Employees with dyslexia often face challenges at work—such as mental exhaustion, fatigue, burnout, stress and discrimination— when they do not get enough support. The absence of workplace support can not only affect their professional performance and career progression but can also impact their overall well-being and self-esteem.

Creating a path to success

Inclusive workplace practices can make a significant difference. Creating a supportive and understanding work environment can help individuals with dyslexia thrive in the workplace. The following are some effective strategies workplaces can use to better support individuals with dyslexia.

1. Structured and clear communication: Ensure workplace communications use clear, concise language in both written and verbal forms. This ensures clarity and reduces misunderstandings.

2. Technology utilization: Use assistive technologies such as text-to-speech software, audio texts and digital organizers to help individuals with dyslexia overcome challenges with reading and writing.

3. Flexibility in the workplace: Offer flexible working hours to employees. This would allow individuals with dyslexia to work during their peak productivity times and manage tasks in ways that play to their strengths.

4. Leveraging strengths: Employers should recognize and leverage the unique skills of individuals with dyslexia to create a more inclusive and productive workplace. These skills can include advanced problem-solving skills, creativity and the ability to visualize complex scenarios and see the big picture. Roles that emphasize big-picture or creative thinking, or innovative problem-solving are well suited to individuals with dyslexia.

5. Self-advocacy: Encourage individuals with dyslexia to advocate for themselves in the workplace, whether by disclosing their needs or seeking necessary accommodations. There is no law that says individuals must self-disclose, but it can help and make a difference to be open about one's needs and the accommodations that can improve productivity.

6. Professional development: Continuously working on one's personal and professional skills can help individuals with dyslexia thrive in the workplace. This includes attending workshops and training sessions, networking with other individuals that have dyslexia and mentorship. These opportunities can provide additional support, strategies, advice and guidance.

A collective effort

By improving accessibility and implementing key strategies, employers can create an environment where individuals with dyslexia feel supported, valued and empowered to contribute to the success of their organizations.

Creating a work environment that helps individuals with dyslexia thrive is a collective effort from employers, colleagues and individuals with dyslexia. Embracing inclusivity and recognizing the challenges and strengths of individuals with dyslexia can create a more diverse workforce.

A more diverse and inclusive workforce not only helps individuals with dyslexia, but can benefit everyone—it encourages different ways of thinking, adaptability and innovation. With the right support, transitioning from university to the workplace can be a journey of growth and success.

By acknowledging the strengths and potential of employees with dyslexia and making reasonable accommodations, employers can harness the unique talents of these individuals. This can lead to increased productivity, creativity and overall success for both the employees and the organization as a whole.

Provided by The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.The Conversation

Citation: Students with dyslexia face challenges transitioning to the workplace, but with support they can thrive (2024, May 15) retrieved 25 May 2024 from https://phys.org/news/2024-05-students-dyslexia-transitioning-workplace.html
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