Dyslexia Action
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I'm 31, I think I have dyslexia - how to bring it up at work with my boss in a few days!

Hi I'm 31, I work as a litigation assistant and I think I have mild dyslexia I've not been assessed but one of the major things I struggle with ins phone calls and messages I get so anxious and have adrenalin pumping through me which makes it even harder to try and take in what I'm hearing, then I can remember, i try to concentrate on remembering the first parts and don't take in the rest. Even when I can be calm its difficult. I get my number muddled up and sometimes can't see that they are unless the case doesn't appear on the system - I rely on copy and paste. I'm a slow reader, I'm very creative and I think in pictures. I'm going to have my one to one with my boss in a few days and I'm terrified he's going to put me on the phones, it's got me really down, if he does I'll probably get sacked with all my mistakes. At the moment I'm Not on the phones, I manage my own work load but it's so low it's very likely he'll put me on taking calls too. Last time I had to do this I nearly handed my notice in because of the anxiety it caused. I'm worried that if I mention my low self esteem and may be linked to undiagnosed dyslexia he may think im using it as an excuse not to progress and learn. (He's hinted this before - especially now that I've been there for 8 years) Because I've been doing the same thing for years I'm also scared of leaving. Another thing I really struggle with is writing letters free hand from the top of my head. I really don't know how other people do it - it was really embarrassing today when my college thought it was enough to give me a verbal out line of what I should put in a simple letter - and I couldn't do it - I had to ask someone else to help me. I use a lot of templates - I'd be lost without them. I don't know what to say to my boss, I can't afford an asessment the company will not put in money towards (I know they won't) - I'm scared of applying for a new job and mentioning to the recruitment agencies that I may have dyslexia. Can someone help me with how to deal with this? I have been pretty lost about it for years - I'm so scared that my boss may put me on the phones with no choice thinking it will push me to develop, not understanding why I feel the way I do. when it could depress me and cause a lot of stress.

I was thinking of giving him something's to read about dyslexia that I feel relates to me. I've also emailed someone about a screening. I feel that with no diagnosis I have no defence. The bosses like to keep their money, it will be unwise to mention assessment payment. I have no money either.

I feel backed up in a corner about this and I don't know what to do.

Hope someone can help with advice/links/reading material for me or my boss.


3 Replies

First of all thanks for your honesty. I am sure many people on this forum have had similar types of difficulties at work especially regarding phone messages and writing tasks. Dyslexia is covered by disability legislation. You need to contact the Access to work Scheme say you have Dyslexia discuss type of difficulties and ask for guidance. gov.uk/access-to-work/how-t... They will let you know what assessment you need.

I am sure you have many talents that you are able to utilise at work, love the idea of being able to think in pictures! Just will need support tacking certain types of tasks... also don't forget there are likely to be other Dyslexics in your company... you are not alone!

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The easiest way forward is to establish exactly whether you have dyslexia or not. Dyslexia is a disability and under the Equality Act 2010 you are eligible for Reasonable Adjustments if your diagnosis shows it impacts you significantly every day in your work. Clearly, some of the tasks you have to do for work are causing you anxiety and in order to discuss things clearly with your boss, it would be helpful to know what your strengths and weaknesses are.

We have a free consultation service, whereby you can speak to a specialist at your nearest Dyslexia Action Centre - dyslexiaaction.org.uk/find-us They will be able to give you the best advice of the way forward to help support you in the workplace.

There is also information on our website if you would like to direct your boss to it - dyslexiaaction.org.uk/workp...

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Honestly, I am no expert but I try to overcome it every day and the most apparent feature of being dyslexic is emotional based.

This website can help.http://www.beatingdyslexia.com/

Also I found that being honest with your employer does help , but if that is not appropriate to do and there is a chance they will not take to kindly to what you see and an issue, then save as much as you can and seek professional help. There is no substitute for a great dyslexia coach. I discovered I had it only last year. Since then I have been searching for help and found that there is inexpensive assistance at things like essay writing courses etc.. usually held by community education groups, but a proper coach will help work through it with incredible results.

Most of all STOP FEARING IT. I think dyslexia is closely related to fear and attaches itself to a self-guard of emotions such as fear to stop you from trying to exercise a right to communicate. DO NOT be afraid of it - simply calm yourself down, spend a moment thinking about how spoken word is frozen in writing and appreciate that. It will soon be evident that whilst dyslexia can be hindering to us, we only stop ourselves by not trying. A very good way to gain confidence over the fear of living with it ( I have found ), is to name things you see on a bus, train or car ride, then attach some attributes to them , like colour, speed, weight, or my favourite; emotion. Then write it down, on a small pad. Remember that this is what you did as a child and you should not feel ashamed to do it as an adult. Don't look at a dictionary when you do this. Then when you get to work, home or where ever you have a few spare minutes, look up the words. The structure of the word is important, but if you get it wrong it's not the end of the world. Find anything textural in what you saw, the way the light bounced off, the speed etc to help you memorise the structure if the word you looked up in the dictionary.

You will see just how wonderful that "ah-ha" moment will become when you can attach the structure of the letters you voiced in your head to what you saw based on what you whiteness in real life. It will make attaching words to the real world more of a tangible experience. Be confident- say yes and grant yourself permission to explore, and you will see you are more adaptable than you believe you are right now. Take any small win, don't see yourself as problematic to anybody and constantly practice.

Take care.

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