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Dyslexia assessment: what can you expect?

Do you or your employees experience difficulties with reading or writing accurately or quickly? Have you considered a dyslexia assessment? These are not the only symptoms currently understood to be a part of the group of conditions which are becoming increasingly known as “neurodiversity”. This term replaces the one used in school and college environments – “specific learning difficulty”. These symptoms can include difficulty in maintaining attention and focus, or organisation and time management. An assessment can highlight the ways an individual can be supported in the workplace, not only through adjustments, but also through skill development and finding alternative and efficient ways of working. While dyslexia and related conditions are not referred to specifically in the Equality Act (2010), they are referenced in the guidance documentation. If you look at the definition of a disability, we can see how this fits.

Why we need to assess people at work

If you’re an employer, you might wonder why you need to do this? Case law has found that if an employer has reason to believe that a person might have a neurodiverse condition, they must act. A landmark case against a large accounting firm deemed that an employee was unfairly dismissed after failing an examination which led to her dismissal. This was despite not having gone through the formal assessment process before the examination.  The company then faced a large compensation pay out. Starbucks have been in the news recently as an employee won a discrimination case against them. Even though she told them she had dyslexia, they failed to support her. An assessment and small number of adjustments could have saved the company a lot of money and public embarrassment. Sometimes these adjustments can be low in cost. You can find this story on the BBC here.

What will the assessment tell you?

Assessments don’t just have to answer the question – is this a disability?  An assessment can answer the question as to why tasks are difficult, and give recommendations of support or development regardless of the answer. Sometimes, for example, it might highlight the need to develop a particular skill. Our trained assessors have many years’ experience in understanding how to help build and develop a person’s potential.

Who does the assessment?

The recent increase in awareness of the impact of dyslexia, ADHD and other disabilities has led to a change in the way these are dealt with. Occupational Psychologists, with experience in workplace issues and competencies, are now more prominently involved than Educational Psychologists. There are new guidelines in place as to what happens before, during and after assessments. A working group of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology has been developing the research base to inform our understanding of how we can best help those with neurodiversity at work. There can be a delicate balance between respecting an individual’s right to privacy and giving the client the information they need to help them. This is why we at Kade have our own working group to ensure we deliver a quality service that respects the needs and the relationships of everyone. If you’re a manager, this means we will give you only the information you need, and we won’t baffle you with the science. For the individual being assessed, that means we will respect your personal information and give you – and only you – the additional information which may be required to support you in the future when given to a trained professional. Before the assessment, we will talk you through the process and give you the opportunity to ask any questions. We will talk you through what your results mean and after the assessment, we’ll call again to see how things are going. If you would like an assessment, call our team to discuss how we can help. Julie is an Occupational Psychologist with experience of working with organisations and individuals around the globe to effectively meet their unique challenges.