Guidance for Employers

Dyslexia Assessment & Consultancy works with employers to provide specialist services.  We help you find effective solutions.  We believe that an understanding of ‘hidden’ disabilities enables employers and employees as well as the organisation to improve performance and productivity.  This makes good business sense.


Inclusive workplaces: working successfully with dyslexia

We offer consultancy on all matters relating to dyslexia/ neurodiversity.  We work with employers throughout the UK, providing the full range of specialist services for those affected by dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Dyslexia and Dyspraxia are ‘hidden’ disabilities and they manifest in a complex number of ways. Managers need to have an understanding of dyslexia and dyspraxia if workplaces are to comply with equality and disability legislation and ensure that their dyslexic / neuro-divergent colleagues are not disadvantaged when compared to their non-disabled colleagues.

Assessment Routes

Employees with a specific learning difference (SpLD) such as dyslexia and dyspraxia can ask their employer for adjustments to support them in their work.

A common route for gaining adjustments is for the employee to gain a full diagnostic assessment report, normally supported by Human Resources (HR) which is followed by a ‘Workplace Needs Assessment’, which is a discussion with the employee and the manager/s exploring the specific requirements needed by the employee to enable them to carry out their work efficiently.

Guidance on Reasonable Adjustments at Work

Most employers are aware of their legal obligations to make Reasonable Adjustments for a dyslexic / neuro-diverse employee.  Yet individual cases can be tricky and we can offer guidance.  We are commonly asked questions around the following areas:

the reasonable adjustments which are appropriate to support an employee with dyslexia / dyspraxia / neurodiversity

the employer’s legal obligations towards a dyslexic employee

the sources of funding for training

We can liaise closely with line managers and HR/Occupational Health managers to discuss ongoing concerns and advise on other matters / further adjustments, as required.

We also offer dyslexia / neurodiversity or ‘hidden’ disability training for managers and their teams.  See below.

Bespoke Dyslexia / Neurodiversity Awareness Training Workshops

Approximately 10% of the working population has dyslexia or other related neurodiversity profile.  It is important that managers and their teams have an awareness of dyslexia / neurodiversity, how it can impact on an employee’s performance as well as how to work successfully with those with such profiles in order to comply with their legal duties.

Dyslexia / dyspraxia can create great challenges for managers.  They are ‘hidden’ disabilities, so not necessarily obvious and they manifest in a complex number of ways.  It can be difficult to recognise dyslexic characteristics in an employee, and particularly difficult to know if it is dyslexia that is affecting the performance or there is another cause.

We therefore offer bespoke onsite workshops on ‘hidden’ disabilities which provide essential information for managers and their teams.  This can be a two hour, half day or full day session tailored to your organisation / team.  We would talk this through in advance.

The training would address the following key areas:

Dyslexia / Dyspraxia / Neurodiversity

How these ‘hidden’ disabilities can affect staff and work performance

How to develop a best practice approach to working with colleagues with dyslexia or dyspraxia.

In more detail, topics covered can include:

The legal framework, including the Equality Act and the Data Protection Act

How changes in the work environment impact particularly on staff with neuro-diverse conditions

How dyslexia and dyspraxia affect efficiency at work

Identification and assessment

Intervention and adjustments at different levels: individual, team and organizational

Reasonable adjustments at the different stages of the employment life cycle: recruitment, staff development & appraisal, promotion

IT solutions, support and funding

Online Awareness Training Courses: Coming Soon!

We are aware of the time pressures at work and availability to attend training courses in person.  We also know how vital it is for all workforces, individuals and managers alike, to gain awareness of neurodiverse conditions and hidden disabilities.  Therefore in addition to our own bespoke face to face courses which are the premium solution where possible, coming soon will be easy to follow online awareness courses which individuals can follow at their chosen time.

We offer a range of services in legal work in matters relating to dyslexia, specific learning difficulties and ‘hidden’ disability related cases.  We have expertise in preparing legal reports and in acting as expert witnesses in employment tribunals and court hearings.  It is our experience that a well-written and comprehensive report will often avert the time-consuming, stressful and costly process of going through a full court hearing.

We are able to:

Act as expert witnesses in employment tribunals or other cases in which a dyslexic person is involved as either plaintiff or defendant.

Conduct expert assessments responding to instructions & produce reports for legal proceedings.

Give guidance to employers and legal professionals on accommodations and reasonable adjustments.

Advise those with dyslexia and related SpLDs on their legal rights.

Advise legal professionals on guidelines for accommodations which should be made for dyslexic people in court, as specified in the Judge’s Equal Treatment Bench Book.

Coach dyslexic people who will be appearing in court, either as plaintiffs, defendants or witnesses.

Provide dyslexic people with support in various ways as they move through legal proceedings. This might include accompanying dyslexic people to meetings and court hearings, providing support with reading court documents.

We can liaise closely with line managers and HR/Occupational Health managers to discuss ongoing concerns and advise on other matters / further adjustments, as required.

We also offer dyslexia / neurodiversity or ‘hidden’ disability training for managers and their teams.  See above.

Useful Resources

Over many years we have worked closely with Melanie Jameson, a consultant on dyslexia and related conditions who has a special and particular interest in the justice/criminal justice system.

She has written widely on matters relating to court and tribunal hearings, contributing a wealth of information about the challenges those with neurodiverse profiles can face in legal proceedings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why might you want to refer a member of staff for a diagnostic assessment?

Here are a range of possible reasons.

  • A member of staff has said that they think they have dyslexia and it would be helpful to confirm this or not. You need to know what sort of adjustments it would be appropriate to make.
  • You have noticed that a team member finds some work areas considerably more difficult than others and it would be helpful to know the reasons for this and how they might be supported.
  • A team member has always thought that they were dyslexic but they have never been assessed and they would now like to have a formal assessment in order to understand themselves better.
  • Occupational Health has questioned whether the stress at work is the result of an undiagnosed dyslexia condition.
  • A member of staff is taking professional examinations and needs to have a full assessment report, or an updated assessment report, in order to gain adjustments, such as additional time, in their papers.
  • A member of staff is having particular difficulty with passing timed examinations and there is a question mark over whether they have a specific learning difficulty which is impacting on their ability to show their knowledge and understanding in a timed situation.

A diagnostic assessment will give understanding and clarity about how a person processes information. 

What are the possible presenting difficulties?

Dyslexia is an underlying difficulty with the processing of information, caused by differences at a cognitive level.  This means that the manifestations will not only change with development, but also according to the demands made on a person and the resources a person can bring to meet those demands.  The presenting difficulties can therefore vary with each person. 

However, characteristically, people with dyslexia have challenges in tasks which make demands on the following:

  • short-term memory;
  • on the speed of processing information;
  • efficient literacy skills.

As a result, the impact will generally be seen when information has to be held in the memory in order to complete a task, or where information has to be worked on quickly, or when reading and writing documents or emails has to be completed within a certain time. 

Other dyslexia indicators are difficulties with organisation, of time, of papers or of activity, and perhaps difficulty in speaking succinctly and to the point, or a difficulty with number skills and a general difficulty with tasks which depend on sequencing and structure.

Challenges with literacy skills and with managing memory and organisational tasks, are likely to affect performance in learning, in the workplace and in everyday activities.  

Some individuals with dyslexia will have found ways to support these areas, or they may have worked very hard to overcome them, or their dyslexia may only be mild, and they manage these areas successfully.

Yet other individuals may be working very long hours in trying to cope, or they may have become very anxious and stressed.  We meet many employees who have had to take sick leave with work-related stress as a result of trying to manage their dyslexia without support or appropriate adjustments in place.

Why you might need to refer now?

It is often the case that a change of some sort will reveal areas of concern in an employee’s performance where there were none before.  Again the reasons can be various, but commonly we find that there has been some change in one of the following:

  • A change in line manager
  • A change in the working practices, for example, in the routine, in the duties undertaken
  • A promotion with different responsibilities and frequently with increased levels of paperwork
  • An increased level of anxiety and stress reported by the employee

The staff member has had a previous assessment but cannot find the report; is there a need for a new assessment?

  • It may well be that the staff member was assessed many years previously, perhaps at Secondary School, or even earlier. In such cases, the report is probably not going to be helpful now in the workplace and it would be sensible to gain a new and up to date assessment.
  • Sometimes an employee gained a diagnostic assessment at university and the report is no longer available, but the Study Skill Needs Assessment (used for gaining adjustments under the Disabled Student’s Allowance) is available. We would look at this and use it if possible but we would guide the employer.
  • If the assessment report is to be used for professional examinations, there would need to be a new full report.

The staff member has had a previous assessment and has the report. Is another report needed?

A simple answer is no.  Whenever possible we would work with the previous report.  However, individual situations can vary enormously and there may be a reason why a new assessment would be helpful.  We would guide the individual and the employer. 

What are the benefits to the employer for a staff member to have a diagnostic assessment?

There are benefits for both the employer and the employee.

Download the ‘10 Benefits of Diagnostic Assessment