A diagnosis of dyslexia shouldn't hold back your career progression, says Charlotte Ashley-Roberts
A diagnosis of dyslexia shouldn’t hold back your career progression, says Charlotte Ashley-Roberts
I am currently searching for a new job but am worried because I have recently been diagnosed with dyslexia. I have never had support but have always known that my spelling and grammar skills are weak, although this never prevented me from achieving my goal. How are employers going to react to this? Will it put them off hiring me?
A Dyslexia and other disabilities can present barriers to finding a job, and for some this is more serious than for others. People who don’t get much support may suffer from a lack of confidence and self esteem. Also, at a practical level, problems with reading and writing can make it difficult to apply for jobs.
Firstly you need to understand your own dyslexia as this can offer self awareness in how you will approach the process. This allows you to identify and build on your strengths in the workplace as well as understanding any areas of development; perhaps this could result in finding a different way around a task that you find difficult. This not only allows you to be more self aware but it also gives you positive things to market yourself both on your CV and at interview.
Once you are in a position where you understand the characteristics of your own dyslexia, it is likely you will discover that subconsciously you may have already developed coping strategies enabling you to continue with everyday life or in your work.
Secondly, you should consider the job that you are applying for and whether your dyslexia will affect the way you do that job? Will the employer need to make any adjustments for you? It shouldn’t be a problem if they do, but they will need to know about the dyslexia first and this could mean disclosing it.
There is no right or wrong answer on whether or not you should disclose. Deciding to do so can be quite daunting but on a positive note your future (or current) employer can only take action in helping you if your difficulty is known. Your employer should encourage your individual development and enable you to do your job to the best of your ability. Telling your employer should have positive effects for both employer and employee and it shouldn’t stop them wanting to hire you.
Of course there will be some employers who aren’t as supportive so it has to be your choice as to whether or not you want to disclose. However, under British legislation, dyslexia is defined as a disability and disabled workers share the same general employment rights as other workers, though there are also some special provisions under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
Under the terms of the DDA, disability means ’a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’.
Therefore it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against disabled people, for a reason related to their disability, in all aspects of employment (see list below), unless this can be justified:
- Application forms
- Interview arrangements
- Proficiency tests
- Job offers
- Terms of employment
- Promotion, transfer or training opportunities
- Work-related benefits such as access to recreation or refreshment facilities
- Dismissal or redundancy
There is more information about disclosing dyslexia go to the dyslexia website.
If you are having difficulties in job application processes, there are schemes in place to assist and there are lots of organisations who are able to provide help and provide practical support:
British Dyslexia Association
The UK’s national association
Remploy’s purpose is to increase the employment opportunities of disabled people and those who experience complex barriers to work.
National charity which supports disabled and disadvantaged people to prepare for work, find jobs and live more independently .
Leonard Cheshire Disability supports over 21 000 disabled people in the UK and works
in 52 countries.
If you need help or support you can contact us at RSC Careers