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Many adults in the workplace are undiagnosed with dyslexia or indeed any co-occurring condition. For many ,this is never a problem – they are in a role with little report writing, note taking or they may be senior enough to have a PA who organises their diary. 
 
For some the questions on their application form have confused them – ‘do you consider yourself to have a disability ? is a popular one. For many they don’t – they struggle with reading volumes of text, organisation , memory and processing but don’t consider it disabling, just part of their daily life. 
 
It is great to see companies like John Lewis supporting neurodiversity in the workplace and releasing interview questions in advance. 
 
Once someone starts their employment it may be difficult for them to learn new processes . What I have seen is that the person may have a supportive line manager, but if there is a change of personnel, some of the difficulties that have been hidden, come to the surface. 
 
For any adult who believes they have a specific learning difficulty if they are not doing professional exams we would recommend a screener such as Do it Profiler or Quick scan. These both give a report giving further signposting such as applying for Access to Work. The Do it Profiler will look at a range of neurodiverse conditions, but both are quick and reasonably priced. If you do not want to discuss possible difficulties they can be done at home online, but many organisations have licenses for multiple screenings. 
 
Since May 2024 we have a new definition of dyslexia (SASC) , where we look at it being primarily a set of processing difficulties that affect the acquisition of reading and spelling. 
• In dyslexia, some or all aspects of literacy attainment are weak in relation to age, standard teaching and instruction, and level of other attainments. 
• Across languages and age groups, difficulties in reading and spelling fluency are a key marker of dyslexia. 
• The nature and developmental trajectory of dyslexia depends on multiple genetic and environmental influences. 
• Dyslexic difficulties exist on a continuum and can be experienced to various degrees of severity. 
• Dyslexia can affect the acquisition of other skills, such as mathematics, reading comprehension or learning another language. 
• The most commonly observed cognitive impairment in dyslexia is a difficulty in phonological processing (i.e. in phonological awareness, phonological processing speed or phonological memory). However, phonological difficulties do not fully explain the variability that is observed. 
• Working memory, orthographic skills and processing speed problems can contribute to the impact of dyslexia and therefore should be assessed. 
• Dyslexia frequently co-occurs with one or more other developmental difficulty, including developmental language disorder, dyscalculia, ADHD, and developmental coordination disorder. 
Many adults do not fit the standard profile of a dyslexic – they may have reading and spelling skills in line with their peers . However their impaired processing speed or working memory are likely to be what is causing them problems in the workplace. 
 
Our FREE online Masterclass on July 26th discusses some of these aspects of the adult journey with neurodiversity. We have Donna Stevenson from Neurobox, as well as Liz Mulhall Brewer, Laura Cook and Pete Jarrett. All are giving their professional insight into how best to support the employee with a neurodiversity.  
 
If you are interested in further training consider our Level 4 OCN London accredited course. We have our next one on the 5th and 12th July. You can do day 1 purely for general awareness and the accreditation is not compulsory. So, if you want to know more about how to support your neurodiverse workforce and perhaps have the skills to carry out a workplace needs assessment , do think about this training. 
 
 
Katrina Cochrane 
June 2024  
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