Getting to Know Dyslexia
The expectation of every employer under the disability discrimination act is that they make a reasonable adjustment to support the additional needs of employees. By making that adjustment the employer is ensuring that their employee can perform their duties to the expected standard. Unfortunately, every employer cannot be expected to be a specialist in the multitude of learning difficulties and disabilities that exist and one of the more difficult to comprehend is dyslexia.
Dyslexia is a neurological difference that often runs in families and can range from mild to severe. It can have a significant impact during education and training, in the workplace and in everyday life too. Identifying and Teaching Children and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties, the 2009 report by Sir Jim Rose, defined dyslexia as:
- ‘Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling.
- Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed.
- Dyslexia occurs across the range of intellectual abilities.
- It is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points.
- Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor co-ordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia.
- A good indication of the severity and persistence of dyslexic difficulties can be gained by examining how the individual responds or has responded to well-founded intervention.’
Each person’s experience of dyslexia is unique to the individual and can range from mild to severe. Much as there are also many positives to thinking differently, including a potentially creative thought and reasoning process, providing training to employees with dyslexia, or other learning needs, can be a challenge. For many individuals with dyslexia, reading a manual, attending training sessions where notes have to be taken or simply being told how to do something verbally will not often be effective.
Some of the hints and tips to be found at www.AbilityNet.Org.uk recommend the following ways to support dyslexia in the workplace:
- Changing the standard computer settings such as changing the colour background of Word documents to blue or yellow rather than white
- Using text-to-speech software to have chunks of text read aloud
- Add your top 50 or 100 most commonly misspelt words into Word’s autocorrect to instantly improve your writing
- Installing a dyslexia-friendly font such as Dyslexie or Open-Dyslexic
- Providing extra support with note-taking – a digital recording device
- Ensuring important documents for meetings are distributed in advance and not just handed out in the meeting
ClickLearn as a Learning Strategy
With the breadth of variations that dyslexia can present within an individual, it is important to have a range of learning styles and strategies available to cater to some of these needs. This is where the multi-format nature of ClickLearn offers itself as part of the solution. ClickLearn delivers in 7 different formats, Web Pages with Show me, Try me and Test me videos, Word, PDF and PowerPoint documents and a live Digital Assistant that works within your system. All of this is created from one single process, saving time, money and the frustration of having to create content over and over again and even better, the created content naturally meets a range of learning needs.
ClickLearn and Dyslexia
The learning portal is a very visual tool which caters to the visual nature of many dyslexic learners. It is clear and concise, images are cropped, and information highlighted. Instructions can be succinct and presented in fonts that are dyslexia friendly and backgrounds to the Word, PDF and PowerPoint documentation can be set as any colour that is required for ease of reading. With Clicklearn training, the notes are already there for a learner to explore at their leisure. In fact, from your original content, you can easily amend a template to create a bespoke portal catering to an individual’s needs with specific font styles, font colours and backgrounds to suit them.
The Show me is another visual device. Even better this is also then combined with a verbal description of the process, which is a narration of both the on-screen text and written documentation. For learner’s who struggle to read this is ideal. If you are a more kinaesthetic, or practical learner, the Try me video gets you clicking through the process, reinforcing verbal and visual information by actually having to click the screen as you go. The Test me video takes this even further as a learner can then attempt the process to see if they are confident in its completion.
Also, for learners who like to be doing, the Digital Assistant is available embedded into the system. This asset allows an individual to be taken through a process at their own pace, live within the system, step by step. Moving from point to point on the screen, explicitly highlighting the next place to click each time ensures that any learner can follow a process from start to finish.
ClickLearn really does meet the needs of a wide range of individuals, ensuring that the same high standards of training are accessible to all in formats that best suit any user. They are always available, whatever time of day or night and updates can be applied consistently so that no material is ever out of date.
Visit our website for more information on ClickLearn and Dyslexia.