Dyslexia Work Based Assessment

A work based assessment is designed to assist in identifying areas of strengths and weaknesses relating directly to the particular demands of a specific job.

The assessment is written in plain English and allows the employer and employee to understand the implications of that person's disability within the context of the specific job, allowing both parties to have realistic expectations about the level and standards that can be realistically achieved and how best to achieve them.

This assessment is concluded with a realistic action plan detailing how the employer can best make 'reasonable adjustments' (as required by the Disability Discrimination Act) thus allowing the employee to reach their potential and ultimately benefiting the employer.

Find out more below:


Advice for Employers

Below are some reasonable adjustments that could be put in place to help current Dyslexic employee’s or future Dyslexic employee’s.

Job Application Process:

  •      Application Forms should be sent by email or discs if possible so it is easier for the individual to spell check & revise what they have written. If you have to send the form as a hard copy try and avoid using white paper as this could cause visual stress. Pastel colour paper is recommended.
  •      Interviews – always try to provide a copy of questions either before or during the interview. Some applicants may be slower in formulating answers to questions if they are Dyslexic, try to be aware that the individual’s coping strategies may break down under the pressure of an interview. If you can see an applicant getting distressed or anxious allow them to have a short break.
  •      Tests – read instructions out loud to applicants or provide on a CD. If possible allow the applicant to give their answers orally and allow more time for the test to be completed.

Dyslexia Awareness for Employers:

  •      Dyslexic employees will find written work & organisation much harder than most. They will need to apply extra effort in certain areas, this may make them fatigued regularly.
  •      Encourage staff to talk to management & others about workplace difficulties.
  •      Allow time out of work for specific training for Dyslexia

Verbal Communication:

  •      Try to give clear instructions & take time to explain fully. You may need to repeat things & check that the employee has understood. If possible give written instructions as well as oral ones.

Written Communication:

  •      When giving a Dyslexic employee written instructions make sure it is in a clear format. Where possible provide information on audio format as well as writing & allow extra time for reading tasks.
  •      When giving writing tasks allow extra time and provide speech-to-text software where possible. Dyslexic employees will not be able to take note or dictation at speed.

Work Organisation:

  •      Where possible give notice of tasks in advance rather than sudden deadlines. Offer support with new or difficult tasks & offer help on planning/prioritising the workload. If possible provide a wall planner that shows appointments & deadlines.

Reducing Stress:

  •      It’s advisable to not interrupt employee’s mid-task or put pressure on them by showing impatience or irritation. If possible arrange specific times where the employee can work free from interruptions & provide a quiet workplace to decrease distraction. Encourage employee to take regular breaks throughout the day.

Training Courses:

  •      Dyslexic employees may be reluctant to apply for training or promotions. Ensure that training courses have a Good Practice policy in relation to Dyslexia trainees.

Dyslexia Quick Guide

The term Dyslexia is generally used to define difficulties with:

  •      Short Term Memory
  •      Visual Processing Skills
  •      Literacy Skills
  •      Phonological Skills
  •      Organisational Skills

For adults; difficulties with literacy may be difficult to identify. An adult may be able to read & write with accuracy but be exceptionally slow at carrying out the activity.

Dyslexia does not hinder intellectual or creativity ability.


Dyspraxia – difficulties in carrying out an action. Difficulties with spatial, perceptual, social interaction & organisational skills. Dyspraxia is on the scale with Dyslexia along with other specific learning difficulties.

Attention Deficit Disorder

ADD – difficulties with concentration, focusing attention, time management & organisational skills.

ADHD – physical restlessness & impulsivity in speech & action


Dyscalculia – difficulties understanding relationships between numbers & understanding mathematical concepts. Difficulties can also be reading, writing or copying numbers & doing mental arithmetic along with carrying out calculations.

Recommended books

  •      Dyslexia in the Workplace: an Introductory Guide. – Wiley Blacwell (Co Author)
  •      Dyslexia: Surviving & Succeeding College (Routledge)
  •      Dyslexia: How to Survive & Succeed at Work – Random House (Vermilion)
  •      Dyslexia & Employment: A Guide for Assessors, Trainers & Managers – Sylvia Moody & Wiley Blackwell

General Help & Advice about Dyslexia and related SPLD’s contact:

The British Dyslexia Association


Main areas of difficulty & activities they regularly affect:

  •      Fine Motor Skills – writing, typing or keying numbers on the phone. Using cutlery or tools & using cash or ticket machines.
  •      Gross Motor Skills - balance, posture or a tendency to trip over & bump into things. Playing sports or dancing.
  •      Organisational Skills – prioritising, appointments & keeping documents in order
  •      Perceptual/Spatial Skills – reading maps, graphs or bank statements. Sense of time, speed or distance along with directing oneself in strange or familiar surroundings. Visual stress: print seems to “jump” on the page and white paper to “glare”
  •      Memory/Sequencing – taking messages or instructions along with maintaining concentration.
  •      Sensitivity – light, touch, noise, taste & smell.
  •      Literacy/Numeracy – structuring letters, essays or documents along with filling in forms. Maths & spelling can be affected.
  •      Speech – expressing ideas & pronouncing words.
  •      Social Skills – interacting with others can be difficult especially groups. Avoiding tactless or impulsive remarks.
  •      Emotional Difficulties – stress, loss of confidence, anxiety, frustration, anger & depression may be caused by emotional difficulties.

Recommended Books

  •      Living with Dyspraxia: A guide for adults with developmental Dyspraxia – Mary Colley & Jessica Kingsley
  •      Developmental Co-ordination Disorder in Adults – Sharon Drew & Wiley-Blackwell

Visual Stress

Dyslexic Readers can commonly have subtle visual problems (binocular instability &/or visual stress) & these may not be detected in routine eye tests. An optometrists or orthoptists would be able to detect these problems.

Binocular Instability

This would not be visible when looking at someone’s eyes however it could cause problems if the person was reading. Below are some common symptoms:

  •      Tires Quickly
  •      Loses place on page
  •      Misses out bits of text
  •      Gets Headaches
  •      Becomes fidgety
  •      Blurred or double vision

Visual Stress

Visual Stress can be caused by difficulties seeing high contrast detail. Below are some common symptoms:

  •      Strain on eyes
  •      Headaches
  •      Text appearing to change or move
  •      Bright coloured text or images “flashing”
  •      White paper “glaring”

Coloured filters or lenses can help ease visual stress however the colour needed will be different for each individual.

To contact us click here.