What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that primarily affects the ability to learn to read and spell. It often runs in families and stems from a difficulty in processing the sounds in words. Some 10 percent of the UK population are affected.

Even though dyslexia makes some things harder to learn, most of the time, any barriers can be overcome with the right kind of help and support.

Identifying dyslexia

Symptoms of dyslexia are wide-ranging and not necessarily the same for everyone, from difficulties with spelling to issues with organisation. One common theme though is the lack of understanding that others have about the condition and how this potentially affects the individual’s confidence.

As a Dyslexia assessor, I’ve worked with many people to help rebuild their confidence. By introducing some simple changes to home and work lives, it has been possible to make a huge difference to how they cope on a daily basis.

At Remploy we support individuals with traits of dyslexia whether they are in or looking for work, by performing a dyslexia screenings that can help to identify coping strategies and reasonable adjustments. This service proves invaluable for those who’ve never been screened before and those transitioning from an education setting, where any adjustments that might have been in place previously, have had a focus on learning rather than work.

Why it’s good to identify dyslexia

A couple of years ago, I provided a screening for a lady who had never admitted to anyone that she couldn’t read. Until that point, she had been good at avoiding reading and finding ways to get other people to do it for her without them realising.

When she told me, she felt very embarrassed about it and said how low her confidence was. Following a screening which identified she had traits of dyslexia she then felt confident enough to explain to her colleagues that there was a reason why she struggled, and felt she could tell people that she wasn’t able to read.

A few months later, she’d enrolled in night school to learn how to read because she’d built up her confidence enough to try and overcome the difficulties she had. With the suggestions I’d made, she then told me at our next meeting she had even read her first book and felt so proud of herself.

Taking that first step

Like this lady, I find many people try and hide the fact that they struggle to read as they feel ashamed or they simply might not be aware that dyslexia could be the reason. But taking that first step to speak out and be screened for dyslexia, can lead to the help they need to help overcome their difficulties and have a happy working life.

By Tim Fox


If you would like to find out more about a dyslexia screen and how to go about taking part in one, contact your local Remploy branch.

* British Dyslexia Association
Dyslexia definition – Dyslexia Action