What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a neurological condition, not a mental disorder. It affects learning ability in people of normal and above-average intelligence. It is a language-based disability that causes difficulties with word recognition, spelling, and comprehension.

Wat are the symptoms?
Signs and symptoms of dyslexia most often appear in childhood but can also occur in adults. Although everyone with dyslexia reads at lower-than-average levels for their age, symptoms vary from one person to another. The most common symptoms are difficulties or delays in learning the alphabet, learning to speak, learning to read, learning to spell, recognizing the order of letters in a word, pronunciation, and distinguishing the sound of one word from another. Children with dyslexia may also have problems distinguishing left from right in activities that involve eye-hand coordination, such as playing tennis. They may also have issues with concentration, focus, and general physical coordination. There is also an association between dyslexia and autoimmune-related conditions such as asthma, allergies, and eczema. 

What causes dyslexia?
No one knows exactly why some children develop dyslexia, but since the condition often runs in families, researchers believe there may be a genetic component. Imaging studies have found that the brains of children with dyslexia develop and work differently than the brains of children who do not have dyslexia. Those with dyslexia have phonological deficits, making it difficult to distinguish the sounds of individual letters and letter patterns in similar words, such as “bat,” “ban,” and “bag.”

It is also possible for a previously literate adult to acquire dyslexia as a result of a stroke, brain injury, or other traumatic event. Someone with acquired dyslexia, or alexia, loses the ability to read due to damage in the rear part of the left hemisphere of their brain and can have problems identifying individual letters and numbers.


Advice for parents, teachers and people with dyslexia
Let co-workers and superiors know. Most countries have laws in place to protect people with learning difficulties from workplace discrimination. Dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence and dyslexic individuals are often very bright, creative and capable workers. If possible, be upfront and honest about your dyslexia as it is nothing to be ashamed of.

Adjust your computer settings. Not everyone realizes that certain fonts can actually make it easier for dyslexic people to read text on a computer screen. They are weighted differently so the letters and numbers are easier to read. Adjusting the background colour of a screen can also reduce distractions and make it faster to navigate a desktop. TIP: Want to try a new configuration to see if it makes a difference? Click on the “Accessibility ME” button in the top right corner of this webpage and play around with different colours and fonts as you read the rest of this blog.

Become a student again. There is nothing shameful about taking a course outside of work to strengthen your literacy skills. In fact, many managers and companies take pride in helping workers enhance their abilities. A program like Touch-type Read and Spell is a great suggestion as it also teaches touch-typing, which can help you write faster and with greater accuracy. Learn more about typing and dyslexia.

Work your words. Figure out which vocabulary is important at your job and find a program or an app to help you reinforce these words. Overlearning via typing drills can help with spelling and sight-reading. TTRS may even be able to help with bespoke vocabulary modules specific to your job—just get in touch with our team to learn more.

Plan for extra time. Time is a major factor at work and knowing how to wield your schedule means allotting extra hours for tasks that may take longer to complete with dyslexia.

Use more charts and diagrams. You may find that it’s easier to process information if you turn tables into charts and text instructions into diagrams. Try printing them on different color paper as it may make them easier to discuss in meetings and during presentations. You can also ask your boss if presenting reports via video or audio summaries is a possibility.

Stay organized. Stress affects everyone in the workplace but it can be particularly crippling if you are already struggling with a learning difficulty. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, stay organized and manage your tasks wisely. This is especially important if you also struggle with dyspraxia. If you know you have a difficult project to work on in the morning, take a long lunch break or plan a different focus for the afternoon to give your brain a chance to recover.