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Posted 30 Aug 2020

Keeping your dyslexia a secret

October is Dyslexia awareness month.

If you are Dyslexic, the workplace can prove challenging if not supported in the right way. If you are the employer of someone who is Dyslexic, knowing what the right solution is for them can be confusing and at times hard to get right. However, listening to and being inclusive of not only Dyslexic, but all neurodiverse employees provides them with a platform to flourish and feel accomplished in an environment they once felt misunderstood in, which is mutually beneficial for employee and employer!

One of our associates, Michelle Doll, was recently part of one client’s journey from holding their Dyslexia a secret, to sharing it wholeheartedly through the creation of a story. This client’s story tells an all too common tale of the fears felt by Dyslexics in the workplace. However, this story unlike so many others has a positive ending…

It is now proudly displayed at their place of work and is a true testament to the profoundly positive impact that supportive managers, with the correct know-how on how to implement change can have.

Once upon a time, there were two women with different agendas. One came to work in an office environment for the first time; the other had worked in an office for 40 years. The secretive one had a secret… the other one had expectations. The secretive one was coping on a daily basis but was fearful and struggling with written procedures, the other one was obvious of this struggle. One day the two women had a meeting. They stood at opposite end and did not understand each other. The secret was causing the misunderstanding and the secretive one was fearful to speak out. The other one knew something was different but could not find out what it was. The secretive one revealed the secret she had been hiding for six months. The secret was Dyslexia…

Both of the women stepped back and drew swords. The reason was fear, exposure, not knowing how to progress on either side. The secretive one was scared as she thought her job was in jeopardy. The other one had to do some research.

The brave ones journey – The brave on felt defensive, scared, angry, attacked and that nobody could understand her. She felt lonely and on her own. The brave one felt a lot of anxiety that she would be trapped in the forest with no directions and did not know what would happen next. The brave one stepped into the light and sat at her desk, but something scared her and she went back to the forest. The brave one felt she had a choice to speak out and when she had, she felt at a crossroads – to carry on and be introvert about it or to come back into the light and choose to embrace it and go with the journey, one day at a time.

The other ones journey – the other one felt bad that the secretive one was upset and felt vulnerable to attack. The other one could not sleep that night, as she was worrying about the secretive one (now the ‘Brave One’) the other one felt scared as she did not know how to progress and didn’t have the knowledge to help the brave one. The other one knew she had to old the hand of the brave one to guide her through the forest. The other one went to DWP/ACCESS TO WORK where all the helpers live. They sent an army of helpers to make a circle of support. Coping strategies to help the brave one from Genius Withinsoftware technologies from Hands Free, disability awareness training, headphones so that the helpers could talk to the brace one and guide her on her way. The other one felt that she had done her best to hold the hand of the brave one and then she could take the steps on her own, and she did

Together, the brave one and the other one started to build an understanding of each other and build a friendship. The brave one learned new skills, grew in confidence, took off her shield of fear and strode bravely out of the forest with the support and encouragement from the other one.

The brave one and the other one play together all the time, the brave one is confident, efficient, accurate helpful, supportive, extremely good at her job and feels confident to speak up and is happy she came out of the forest, she now plays in the light.

The other one is happy and very proud of the brave one. She feels that she will always go into the forest to hold the hand of someone that is hiding there.

If you are in the forest, please ask someone in your team to hold your hand and bring you to the light.

The morale of the story (please read backwards) –

.ot emit eht koot dna rehto hcae htiw detacinummoc yeht dalg erew eno rehto eht dna eno evarb ehT .seye tnereffid htiw dlrow eht ta kool lla ew emas eht reve si eno oN .gninreal ni secnereffid dnatsrednU

This is how difficult it can be for someone with Dyslexia to understand…

If you would like information on our neurodiversity inclusion services and how to implement systemic inclusion in your workplace, click here.

“We all lose when human potential is squandered.” – Dr Nancy Doyle, CEO and founder of Genius Within CIC

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