Often research and information on Dyslexia is targeted at children as there is a strong focus on early intervention and the role that schools and families can play in supporting those living with the learning disorder. This can sometimes leave adults feeling left out of the conversation, unsure what information is relevant to them, or unsure where to turn for further support. Contrary to popular belief dyslexia can be found in individuals across the lifespan and often those who had difficulty with reading and writing in childhood continue to have some difficulty in adulthood. Below are some suggestion of support and consideration for adults with Dyslexia:
Embrace your strengths: Adults with dyslexia have a myriad of unique strengths and abilities. Maybe you are creative? Great at math? Love storytelling? Are great with people? Whatever your strength, lean into it and find more ways to do the things that you enjoy. Perhaps there is a way of incorporating your strengths into your work or homelife? Maybe you have a passion that you would love to share with your community? Get involved in clubs or programs to connect with others that have similar strengths or interests.
Take care of your mental health: As with many disabilities and mental health concerns, there can be stigma and a limited understanding in the wider community about dyslexia. Interacting with negative perceptions from others and barriers to accessing the community can lead to low self-esteem or other mental health difficulties. It is important to take care of yourself and seek support regarding your mental health if needed. If you notice increased worry or low mood, have a chat with someone you trust. The research suggests that social support is the best predictor for high self-esteem in those with dyslexia.
Help call out barriers in the workplace: There are many things that workplaces can do to make their spaces dyslexia friendly. This includes making staff aware of dyslexia and the challenges and strengths it poses, investing in assistive technology (talk-to-text, recording software, audio note taking software etc.), and being flexible with communication methods to suit the individual (emails, meetings, audio recording etc.). The responsibility for creating a safe and inclusive workplace should not always lie with the individual with the lived experience. Workplaces have a role in educating themselves to ensure that they are accessible to their employees.
Support available for further study: Many TAFEs and Universities offer support for those with dyslexia wanting to pursue further studies. This may include longer time to complete tasks, assistance with reading/writing in exams or additional tutoring. If you are considering further education, but worried you’re your dyslexia is a barrier, contact your preferred institute to discuss options for support.
Finally, it’s never too late for intervention. Research indicates that many adults who engage in further intervention can continue to improve their reading and writing skills. If you are interested in options for support or tutoring, the following services offer a wealth of information:
Dyslexia SPELD Foundation: https://dsf.net.au/adults/what-support-is-available-for-adults
Reading Writing Hotline: https://www.readingwritinghotline.edu.au/ or 1300 6555 06