Dyslexia at work

disability has all sorts of connotations – from wheelchairs to mental illness and learning disabilities. Yet some of the most talented and brilliant individuals in the world count as disabled. While many organisations have better access for physical disability, overall you are unlikely to be attracting “dis”abled talent. Richard Branson, Theo Paphitis, Jamie Oliver have the disability of dyslexia. As did Einstein, Issaac Newton and Benjamin Franklin all three of whom almost certainly also had aspergers – an autistic spectrum disorder. And what about Alexander Graham Bell, Michael Farraday, Erin Brochovich, John Lennon, Winston Churchill, Michael Hesaltine, John F Kennedy, Hans Christian Anderson, Duncan Goodhew, Steve Redgrave, Leonardo Da Vinci. Some list huh? have a look here http://www.xtraordinarypeople.com/celebrity/ Yet most of these people would have struggled in the workplace – or even to get into it! All that talent, energy and creativeness would be missed by most organisations. Many with dyslexia would struggle to fill in the forms, manage the application or turn up to interview on time. Once started they might have been frequently late for meetings and have forgotten to do things due to the associated short-term memory problems. Many organisations would have had them on a performance improvement plan instead of a talent exploitation plan. And if you’re not sure about the relevance to IT, how about this list: Bill Gates, John T Chambers (CEO – Cisco Systems), William Hewlett (Co-Founder – Hewlett-Packard), Sir Richard Branson (Virgin), Guy Hands, Lord Phillip Harris,, Charles Schwab, Ted Turner (President – Turner Broadcasting Systems), F.W. Woolworth, Simon Woodruff – all people with a disability. There are many positive steps that can be taken to give your organisation access to this pool of talent. IT has a big part to play with tools that make it easier to access information, organise documentation, present information in different ways. We often just don’t think about how to attract and benefit from talents that are different to those like us or others we already employ. If you’d like to find out about supporting dyslexia in the workplace use our contact page (see the original post at www.peopleware.co.uk