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Learning Disability in the Workplace: Adults with Dyslexia

June 05, 2013

Disability Living is privileged to provide information about disabilities that effect people of all ages, in Canada and throughout the world. It has come to our attention that, while we have written extensively about how learning disabilities affect children, we have yet to publish articles about the impact dyslexia has on adults.


Symptoms of Dyslexia in Adults

Dyslexia is a broad term that encompasses the challenge some individuals have when reading and interpreting words. Some symptoms of dyslexia in adults may include or lead to, hiding your disability from coworkers and employers, becoming frustrated easily with work-related tasks, a feeling of not being good enough for a job or promotion, and having trouble focusing on simple tasks.

If you have been diagnosed with dyslexia, do you relate to these points listed above? If you do not have dyslexia, but question why you struggle at work, do these symptoms lead you to wonder if dyslexia may be interfering with your career?

Adults with Learning Disabilities Overcome Obstacles

It is important for an adult with dyslexia to understand how the learning disability affects him or her specifically, and how it may disrupt concentration when approaching work tasks.

Individuals who struggle with dyslexia may:

– Appear intelligent and have good social skills but become troubled with reading, writing, and spelling at a level consistent with their peers.

– Have a successful career that involves “visual-spatial/kinesthetic talents”. These jobs exist in the arts, leadership (with good administrative support), entrepreneurial ventures, athletics, engineering, and trade skills.

– Thrive in activities that involve multi-tasking. In fact, it is often challenging for adults with learning disabilities to remain focused on one task for a long period of time.

Here are a few tips to help manage dyslexia at work:

– Prioritize reading tasks. Avoid putting these jobs off until the last minute. Instead, carve out time to spend with important documents so you don’t feel rushed or overwhelmed.

– Structure your writing. If you are responsible for writing, use an outline to help keep your thoughts focused on the main subject.

– When taking notes and recording messages, be sure to document ONLY the important information listed.

– At the beginning of each day, make a to-do list. Create a plan for the day and stick to it.

– Be honest about your capabilities and challenges. Tell your employer exactly what you struggle with, and also what your areas of strength are.

People with the learning disability, dyslexia, add a lot to their workplaces. With high intelligence, creativity, and multi-tasking abilities, these individuals have strengths that far outweigh the symptoms of dyslexia.

Every day, adults with disabilities thrive in their careers. What is your story of success? How have you transformed your disability into strong workplace abilities? We’d love to hear your story of overcoming obstacles and bringing about your own success. Reply with your comment in the section below this post.


*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources. Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority.  Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for the NBA and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.

Read additional Disability Living blog posts:

Dyslexia: A Disability that Affects Teens
Paul Dewar: His Success in Overcoming Dyslexia
Learning Disabilities – What are they and what do they mean for us who have them?
Perspective and “Coping” with Disabilities and Adult ADD
Back-to-School Ideas for Children with Dyslexia

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