Dyslexia and those reasonable adjustment forms
I’m dyslexic and I when I got stressed my dyslexia was exacerbated big style. My ability to put a sentence together was reduced. While putting an evidence based logical argument which had always been a weakness vanished with the wind. Even though I’m back on track and no longer medically stressed I’m still dealing with some of the fall out. The obvious one is dealing with the impact of dyslexia on my work.
What is dyslexia?
For those that don’t know dyslexia is a learning disability that affect around 10% of the population. So in the scheme of things it is relatively common. On average, one member of a hockey or a football team will be dyslexic.
The British Dsylexic Association describes dyslexia as: Dyslexia is not only about literacy, although weaknesses in literacy are often the most visible sign. Dyslexia affects the way information is processed, stored and retrieved, with problems of memory, speed of processing, time perception, organisation and sequencing.
How does it affect me?
Technically, I’m disabled but it’s not how I see myself, I can get through normal life quite easily. I only struggle when I need to produce an error free piece of writing. However, that one of the key things I need to do for my job. So when it comes to work, I need to acknowledge that I’m different and I need a little bit of assistance to produce the required high quality output. (I also need help when performing under time pressure, like exams like the GMAT.)
When I was more junior I managed my dyslexia by being the Quant expert. I didn’t need to write beautiful prose, I needed to analyse big beautiful spreadsheets. However, that no longer an option for me, I just don’t have the time when I lead a project to have fun with spreadsheets. I needed to give up excel and get with the writing programme. So dealing with my dyslexia is now an everyday reality.
I hate being reminded that I’m different, that I can’t do something that is so easy for everyone else. So sometimes I struggle a little emotionally with my dyslexia, but in my new stress free world this is something I need to deal with. So one of the steps is to develop a document, a reasonable adjustment form, which outlines why I’m a little different and what assistance my managers can offer to help me with my dyslexia. Previously I relied on verbally telling my managers, but now I need to grasp the nettle and put down on paper I’m different.
However there also seems to be an assumption that form will magically solve all my problems and suddenly no-one is going to comment on my drafting. I would love that to happen, but I work in a place where people can long discussions about spilt-infinitives, it’s not going to happen, and I’m realistic about that.
Rather than filling in forms and keep tying to explain what I’m not good at, and how to minimise the impact on the work place. wouldn’t it be soo cool if I could fill in a form saying, I’m different, I’m dyslexic, I can do this, this and this really well. And then a discussion is had around How can we structure the job to make the best use of those skills? Wouldn’t that reasonable adjustments form be brilliant?
- October is Dyslexia Awareness Month (acplwhatshappening.wordpress.com)
- October is dyslexia awareness month (dyslexiawarriormom.wordpress.com)
- Recognising the signs and helping employees with dyslexia (24dash.com)