Search
Advice » In the Workplace» Workplace Issues » Dyslexia in the Workplace
Dyslexia in the Workplace

Dyslexia in the Workplace

Get the Tools and Support You Need

As youngsters, Thomas Edison, Ted Turner and Charles Schwab felt frustrated. They had difficulty deciphering letters and numbers, and were labeled "stupid." Of course, they were bright enough to invent the light bulb, revolutionize television news and found a groundbreaking brokerage firm. Now we know their problem was dyslexia, not stupidity.

Today's Edisons, Turners and Schwabs are being identified early as having the disorder, which includes problems reading and writing, and poor short-term memory for sequences. Specialists provide coping mechanisms, and dyslexics -- whose learning differences vary from slight to severe -- receive support throughout the educational process. But what happens when they move into the workplace?

"For anyone who wants to be successful, dyslexia is definitely an obstacle," says Debra Brooks, a dyslexic who graduated from Columbia University and now works as a consultant on dyslexia in the workplace. "You have to find ways to do what successful people do."

Accept Your Differences

The first step is "accepting that you'll work differently than most people," Brooks says. She once fielded a call from an engineer who, despite hours of study, had failed a test to advance in his company three times. He wanted to learn how to pass the test, but Brooks told him not to take it the same way again. Instead, she advised him to ask to take it orally or write a paper on the subject. Both accommodations are valid under the Americans with Disabilities Act, she says.

Similarly, the Dyslexic Reader suggests requesting that instructions for tasks be provided orally, either in person, on tape, via voicemail or through a computerized voice synthesizer. Alternatively, because many dyslexics read a computer screen more easily than paper, instructions can be emailed, rather than written down.

Dyslexics often find it difficult to fill out forms. The Reader's answer: Dyslexics can answer questions orally or dictate their responses to a colleague who can fill out the form for them.

Dyslexia-Adults.com offers other suggestions. Dyslexics should break large tasks into small, manageable chunks. The verbal and aural reinforcement of a small tape recorder or dictating machine can help you remember what needs to be done. Additionally, dyslexics should keep a "jobs to-do list" close at hand. They should cross off each task as it's accomplished, and check the list often.

Use Technology

Voice recognition software is improving rapidly. Speaking into a computer is a great boon for dyslexics, whose fear of writing may become paralyzing.

Spell-checkers also help. Programs like Texthelp can help with recalling words that dyslexics frequently misspell and add them to lists for auto-correction. A reading pen (available from Dyslexic.com) can be run over a word that's difficult to decipher. The pen "says" the word out loud or through a small earpiece -- it does not speak entire sentences, however.

Low-tech solutions work too. Examples include highlighters for keywords or rulers to separate lines of figures.

Dyslexia-Adults.com suggests tackling paperwork early in the day. Fatigue adversely affects dyslexics' ability to read, spell and work with numbers. Also helpful: Take short breaks throughout the workday to refresh concentration.

Same Work Standards, Different Approach

From the time of diagnosis, dyslexics should "learn what you can and can't do," Brooks says. "Be honest and upfront with the people you work with. Let them know you work differently -- but you work hard." In fact, she adds, employers and colleagues soon learn that dyslexics are intensely loyal. "We work like dogs."

"These are not ways of hiding behind dyslexia, or making life hard for coworkers," Brooks notes. "The work standards are the same. Dyslexics are just changing the way they meet them."

Schwab, the dyslexic who parlayed his discount brokerage firm into a personal net worth of over $3 billion, gives this advice to those who share his disability: "Find out what you can do well, focus on it and work double hard." Smart words for anyone in the workplace -- dyslexic or not.

Latest Jobs

Mutual Of Omaha - Don Lilly Agency
Posted: 10/31/2014
Roanoke, VA, 24018
Mutual Of Omaha - Don Lilly Agency
Posted: 10/31/2014
Lexington, KY
CPP, Inc.
Posted: 10/31/2014
Mountain View, CA, 94043
Relias Learning
Posted: 10/31/2014
Cary, NC, 27518
Sutherland Global Services
Posted: 10/31/2014
Rochester, NY, 14623

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.70.79-312
eTrustLogo