A. Depending on what kind of help you are seeking and where you live, there are many different types of resources available to help adults with dyslexia. In the United States, it’s been estimated that 3 out of 4 children are not being identified in school; among adults, that number is probably higher.
Should I Be Formally Assessed?
Being formally identified as an adult may be necessary for formally requesting job accommodations, but with the greater availability of low-cost or even free resources for text to speech, spelling, and grammar correction, many adults in the workplace opt to use these resources as well as asking friends or colleagues to help with tasks such as proofreading when time and accuracy are at a premium.
Workplaces May Not Be Dyslexia-Friendly
The practical dilemma in the workplace is that there can be many aspects of the work environment (hiring, performance review, etc.) that are poorly designed for the wide diversity of employees, dyslexics included. There are ADA (Americans for Disability Act) protections against discrimination in the workplace, but the criteria less clear than in the setting of schools and employers are only required to provide “reasonable accommodation.”
** One great general resource for disability in the workplace is the Job Accommodation Network – they also have live chat and phone support: 1-800-526-7234.
Am I Protected from Workplace Discrimination? What Accommodations or Assistive Technology Might I Have Access to? From the
From the EEOC: “An applicant with a disability, like all other applicants, must be able to meet the employer’s requirements for the job, such as education, training, employment experience, skills, or licenses. In addition, an applicant with a disability must be able to perform the “essential functions” of the job the fundamental duties either on her own or with the help of “reasonable accommodation.”
However, an employer does not have to provide a reasonable accommodation that will cause “undue hardship,” which is significant difficulty or expense.” Within a large corporation, an employee has the option of contacting a human resources or diversity professional. Some companies have established protocols for requesting accommodations – such a dual screens, assistive technology training, and text-to-speech programs, however, many may not.
HR and diversity professionals are also employed by the employer which may limit what types of advice or help they can give. Outside of the company, job or executive coaches can also provide assistance, but they may also be expensive and not covered by insurance or your employer.
On a practical basis, employees have to ‘pick and choose’ what policies and practices they may want to try an accommodate or change. In our past surveys of adults with dyslexia in the workplace, the overwhelming majority chose to disclose only to friends or peers at work rather than a manager or HR professional. Some expressed their concern that disclosure could negatively affect them on, for instance, later performance review.
What if I am currently unemployed?
In the US, States have vocational rehabilitation counselors who may be helpful in suggesting resources. Vocational rehabilition is a state government-supported services that helps individuals with disabilities with employment search. In the United Kingdom, the British Dyslexia Association has a variety of resources available for job seekers.
Are there free or low-cost resources available to help me with reading and writing ?
One great resource to find help near you is the National Literacy Directory. You can check what you want help with – for instance reading and writing, English language, help with computers or technology, or high school equivalency) and also state your location. In the US, other resources for adults include tutoring from the non-profit Pro-Literacy and many Community Colleges and Universities have either free or low-cost programs to help with tutoring. If you are enrolled in a class at college and are having trouble, you may be able to be referred to the disability office for free testing that may qualify you for accommodations. In the UK, there is the
If you are enrolled in a class at college and are having trouble, you may be able to be referred to the disability office for free testing that may qualify you for accommodations. In the UK, there is the Dyslexia Adult Network.
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