Employer's Guide Dyslexia in the workplace

If you read this, you may have or want to hire an employee who has been diagnosed with dyslexia.

This guide answers a number of questions:

  • What's dyslexia?
  • What can an employee with dyslexia do for your organisation?
  • What can you do to make your employee do her/his job well and with pleasure?

Not everyone with dyslexia needs extra help and usually these are small adjustments to support someone's effectiveness. Modifications that cost little and do not have a major impact on the organization.

With some attention and understanding and small adjustments to highlight the qualities and talents of people with dyslexia, they are valuable employees.

What are the qualities of dyslexia? What can an employee with dyslexia do for your organisation?

Many people with dyslexia have the following qualities

  • can often improvise well, creative thinkers
  • strong visual power
  • good spatial understanding
  • strategic thinking
  • associative thinking
  • oversee the consequences

People with dyslexia are all different and have a wide range of interests, skills and intelligence, just like others. It is important to discuss with your employee individually what could be helpful.

What's dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a developmental condition in the brain in which the automation of hearing sounds, reading punctuation marks, developing writing and speaking does not proceed as in most children up to the age of 8. The way in which information is processed in the various brain networks is different.

The cause is unclear. Often people keep their dyslexia hidden because they are ashamed and fear being called stupid. In childhood, older workers were completely unaware of dyslexia and many received a much lower education due to their condition than would actually be appropriate.

There are two areas in which people with dyslexia can distinguish themselves:

1. Read slowly:

-reading and understanding what you're reading takes a lot of energy and goes slowly

2. Processing information:

-The working memory cannot hold information properly so names and numbers are easily forgotten or mixed everyday trivialities are easily forgotten and it takes longer to build up an overview

Sometimes concentrating costs, planning and organizing more effort.

Approximately 4-5% of adults have dyslexia, which means up to 455.00 people in a working population of 9.1 million people.

In people with dyslexia, properties from other conditions may also occur, there is often overlap with properties from the autism spectrum and with AD(H)D.

How is dyslexia treated?

Speech therapy is used to bring children's language skills up to an optimal level.
In the case of dyslexia in the elderly, aids can easily be used that limit the processing of written information. Coaching can sometimes be useful when people already have many (school) experiences with failure, bullying and therefore little self-confidence behind them.

What can you do so that your employee with dyslexia can do his/her job well and with pleasure?

Everyone is different but a large common denominator in which the qualities of people with dyslexia are best expressed is

  • work with:
    • understanding of fitness
    • tools to limit/convert written information into audio
    • software that is helpful to convert text to speech and vice versa
    • use of large screen and large letters

working environment that is less compatible is

  • work with:
    • a lot of written information to be processed
    • laprolonged high concentration without much variation

Which adjustments can be helpful?

  • collegiality i.e. openness and understanding
  • facilitation by the manager, direct feedback
  • software that converts text to speech and vice versa
  • larger screen with larger letters
  • visual reminders: post-it notes, checklist etc.
  • Physical reminders: need to be able to set things up, branded storage spaces


As is the case for all employees, it is also important for people with dyslexia that the employer treats the employee (s data) with care and does not share any diagnosis or other data with others without permission. People with dyslexia are not seen as equal people everywhere and adjustments are sometimes seen by others as provocation or hiring. A company culture where there is little understanding for someone's individuality and talents is not only an unpleasant environment for people with dyslexia to work in.

For more information

Pulse&Wort blind

Hidden treasures

Work and dyslexia

Language Aid Foundation

European Brains at Work