Reasonable Adjustments for Dyslexia
General difficulty with reading:
- Give verbal as well as written instructions.
- Highlight salient points in documents.
- Use voice mail as opposed to written memos.
- Use screen reading software.
- Ask for information in Plain English format.
- Supply screen reading software and scanner.
- A Reading Pen may be useful for unfamiliar words.
- Provide information on coloured paper (find out which colour helps the person to read best).
- Set up a computer screen with a coloured background to documents.
- Avoid underlining and italics: these tend to make the text appear to run together. Use bold instead.
- AVOID TEXT IN BLOCK CAPITALS: this is much harder to read.
- For Headings, use larger font size in bold, lower case.
- Boxes and borders can be used for effective emphasis.
Difficulty with reading and writing:
- Allow plenty of time to read and complete the task.
- Examine other ways of giving the same information to avoid reading.
- Discuss the material with the employee, giving summaries and/or key points.
- Utilise information prepared in other formats for example audio or videotape, drawings, diagrams and flowcharts.
- Use mind-mapping.
- Use digital recorders.
- Use speech to text software.
- Use short-hand /symbols for note taking.
- Get someone else to take the Minutes of meetings.
Spelling and grammar errors:
- Proof read work.
- Instant spell checker on all computers.
- Offer assistive text software on all applications, where possible.
Working at a computer:
- Change background colour of screen to suit individual preference.
- Supply anti-glare screen filter.
- Allow frequent breaks, at least every hour.
- Alternate computer work with other tasks where possible.
- Avoid continuous all day computer work.
Difficulty remembering and following verbal instructions:
- Give instructions one at a time.
- Communicate instructions slowly and clearly in a quiet location.
- Write down important information.
- Demonstrate and supervise tasks and projects.
- Encourage the person to take notes and then check them.
- Ask instructions to be repeated back, to confirm that the instruction has been understood correctly.
- Write a memo outlining a plan of action.
- Use a digital recorder to record important instructions.
- Back up multiple instructions in writing or with diagrams.
- Difficulty with hidden meanings in conversation.
- Give clear concise and direct instructions; do not hint or make assumptions that you have been understood.
- Make sure the workplace is quiet and away from distractions for example away from doors, busy phones, loud machinery.
- Allocate a private workspace if possible.
- Where feasible allow an employee to work from home occasionally.
- Provide a quiet working environment for a dyslexic employee by allocating libraries, file rooms, private offices and other enclosed areas when others are not using them.
Coping with interruptions:
- Use a “do not disturb” sign when specific tasks require intense concentration.
- Encourage co-workers not to disturb the person unless absolutely necessary.
- When interrupting, allow the person to pause and write down what they are doing to refer to when resuming work.
- Ensure that each task is completed before starting another.
- Encourage outgoing rather than incoming calls. Offer training in how to use the telephone effectively for example jotting down key points before making the call.
Remembering appointments and deadlines:
- Remind the person of important deadlines and review priorities regularly.
- Hang a wall planner that visually highlights daily/monthly appointments, deadlines, tasks and projects.
- Supply a PDA personal digital organiser.
- Supply an alarm watch.
- Encourage the employee to use the daily calendar and alarm features on his/her computer.
Organisation of property:
- Ensure that work areas are organised, neat and tidy.
- Keep items where they can be clearly seen for example shelves and bulletin boards.
- Ensure the team returns important items to the same place each time.
- Colour code items.
- Ensure work areas are well lit.
- Supply and use a wall planner.
- Prioritise important tasks.
- Create a daily, dated “To Do” list.
- Use diaries.
- Write a layout for regular tasks with appropriate prompts for example for meetings or taking notes.
- Allow extra time for unforeseen occurrences.
- Build planning time into each day.
Always try to use the same route:
- Show the route and visible landmarks.
- Give time to practice going from one place to another.
- Supply detailed maps.
- Supply GPS car navigation system.
Short term memory problems; especially names, numbers and lists:
- Use mnemonic devices and acronyms.
- Organise details on paper so that they can be referred to easily using diagrams and flowcharts.
- Check back understanding.
- Use multi-sensory learning techniques such as reading material onto a tape machine and then playing it back whilst re-reading.
- Use computer software; sometimes well developed programme menus and help features are useful.
- Use a calculator.
Source: British Dyslexia Association