Taking into consideration the needs of individuals who have specific learning differences such as dyslexia and dyspraxia can make your training sessions more effective for these groups. Dyslexia and other neurological differences are included as disabilities under the Equality Act 2010 and require specific attention from training staff in order to ensure that the requirements set out in the legislation are adhered to.
At least 10% of the general population is dyslexic, according to the British Dyslexia Association. However dyslexic employees are not found evenly spread among businesses, and could account for as much as 50% of the workforce in creative industries, where design capability is required. Few employers are aware of the numbers of their staff who are dyslexic. Indeed it is common for dyslexic adults to be unaware that they are dyslexic themselves, as schools are still poor at spotting all but the most obvious examples and dyslexia is much misunderstood.
Finding out the correct language to use and types of adjustments to make, is part of the process of inclusion. Here are three simple multi-sensory substitutes which will enable you to be less relient on description:
1. Have you got a product or sample that can be examined?
For a dyslexic person to have strong recall, they want to touch, feel, see and hear what they need to learn about. Dyslexia impacts on the processing and memory of auditory information as well as written.
2. Can a technique be demonstrated?
People who process speech and the written word less effectively will learn more from acting out or observing a demonstration of what has to happen, rather than an oral or written description.
3. Can photographs, pictures or diagrams be used to express ideas rather than words?
Dyslexic people are often highly visual, creative thinkers who respond more strongly to imagery in the communication of an idea. A visual representation which is then discussed to contextualise the meaning, can be very memorable.
Using these suggestions will help both dyslexic and non-dyslexic staff to engage better with training, help you provide a more inclusive learning environment and show best practice within your industry.
Let me know how you get on using them.
Jan Halfpenny is a dyslexia consultant, trainer and learning disability specialist. Her company researches into dyslexia in the business environment and develops resources and courses, the first of which is aimed at workplace educators who want to improve their training through effective disability support.