This October, we have been busy celebrating Dyslexia Awareness Month. Dyslexia comes with many different challenges which are unique to every individual. As dyslexia isn’t a visible disability, many individuals often feel unsupported, unwanted, and invisible. It is so important that we recognise and celebrate our colleagues and the importance of Dyslexia Awareness Month.
Just because someone has dyslexia, it does not mean that they are in any way less intelligent than their colleagues. They bring creativity, insight, and powerful problem-solving skills to our team. The way that they perceive the world is unique and can be a catalyst for innovation and success.
This month, we caught up with Paul Simpson, Assistant Director for Engagement and Partnerships at Homes for Lambeth as he tells us about his journey with dyslexia. Paul was diagnosed when he was 11 years old and has admitted that he finds it harder having dyslexia in the workplace compared to school; ‘the help, support and immediate understanding aren’t there. However, the workplace is so much more rewarding when you get past those barriers you can start to contribute and make a difference.’ Paul believes that individuals with dyslexia can contribute to the workplace by ‘bringing a different perspective, based on a wider understanding of how things work’.
Dyslexia is a very common difficulty that some people face when reading text or words. A person with dyslexia might:
- Read and write very slowly
- Have poor or inconsistent spelling
- Confuse the order of letters in words
- Put letters the wrong way round (such as writing "b" instead of "d")
- Find it hard to carry out a sequence of directions
- Struggle with planning and organisation
- Understand information when told verbally but have difficulty with information that's written down
We asked Paul what support he has received from Homes for Lambeth, that he hasn’t been offered from previous workplaces, and he said ‘Homes for Lambeth is the first employer I have felt that I can be open and relaxed about being dyslexic. They have provided me with the right tech to support me every day.
‘HFL is such a friendly and supportive workplace – people are always willing to help by proofreading work. It is easy to fall into bad habits, but we need to practice staying focused to enable us to do the best job we can for our residents. Having the pressure to perform keeps you focused on the goal.’
At Homes for Lambeth, we currently offer support to our colleagues that struggle with dyslexia and that may require assistance in the following ways:
- Grammarly -
- Dragon -
- Training -
Dyslexia is recognised as a disability under the Equality Act 2010, and therefore there is support available for individuals with dyslexia. Homes for Lambeth employees may be eligible for the Access to Work (AtW) grant. This is a government grant that can pay for practical support if you have a disability, health, or mental health condition. The money can pay for things such as adaptations to the equipment you use, special equipment (assistive technology), travel costs, support work or job coach, support services, disability awareness training, and more.
Paul has advice for dyslexic adults who are currently looking for work, as he understands that dyslexia can impact everything you do day-to-day at work, from typing emails to proofreading work. Paul’s words of wisdom are to ‘Be honest and be yourself. Science says that dyslexics tend to do better at certain things like problem-solving, seeing the bigger picture and being creative. As we move past the pandemic, these are the sort of skills the world will need more of – so I would suggest targeting your job search to your strengths.’
At Homes for Lambeth, we want all our colleagues to feel heard and understood. That’s why we are committed to being a member of The British Dyslexia Association (BDA). The BDA has been the voice of dyslexic people since 1972. They are a membership organisation working to achieve a dyslexia-friendly society for all. They aim to influence the government and other institutions to promote a dyslexia friendly society that enables dyslexic people of all ages to reach their full potential.
If you have recently been diagnosed with dyslexia, here is a message from Paul: ‘Welcome to the club! My advice would be to find the issues that you have and find the solutions that work for you. You are so lucky to be diagnosed now – the tech is SO much better now than it was even 5 years ago.
I still struggle - I wish people would understand that my brain works differently from theirs. Not better, not worse, just differently.’