Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that most often impacts how people read and write. The brain processes certain forms of information differently to non-dyslexic people.

Around 1 in 10 people are dyslexic according to the British Dyslexia Association (BDA). This is around 6.3 million people.

Dyslexia (BDA)

What is dyslexia?

Every person has a different experience. Dyslexia is most commonly linked to challenges with reading, writing, numbers, and spelling. But it can also affect:

  • information processing
  • memory
  • ability to focus
  • how you identify speech sounds and how they connect to letters and words

For example, common barriers dyslexic people experience online and in the workplace are:

  • not having colour overlays
  • not being able to change the colours or fonts on documents and websites
  • not being provided assistive technology by employers
  • having time limits for transactions
  • too much information in one place, like a wall of text
  • complex language which needs re-reading multiple times
  • being given many instructions at once
  • difficulty remembering conversations or important dates
  • being overloaded and switching off
  • finding it hard to focus if there are distractions

Assistive technology for dyslexia

Assistive technology is hardware or software designed to help disabled people. There are different types of assistive technology.

Assistive technology for dyslexia can include:

  • speech to text software
  • audiobooks
  • text to speech readers
  • smart pens
  • grammar software
  • magnification and tracking support
  • decluttering software

The technology people need will vary depending on the individual. Here are some examples of dyslexia tools and aids colleagues or customers might be using:

How to help colleagues with dyslexia

A recent study found that more than half of respondents with dyslexia faced workplace barriers. These included not being given time to make reasonable adjustments and negative attitudes.

Dyslexia: breaking down the barriers (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy)

If you’re an employer, start by talking your dyslexic employees. They will be able to tell you what changes would be most useful for them.

Legally, organisations must make reasonable adjustments. But we always recommend giving workplace adjustments for any employee who needs them. They can be low cost and create a more productive workplace.

Employer responsibilities for reasonable adjustments

If they’re not sure what they need, you can do an assessment to find the right support. Access to Work is a government scheme that can help with adjustments. They can contribute to the costs too if your organisation meets the criteria.

Access to Work (GOV.UK)

Including dyslexic customers

For customers, make sure your website works well with assistive technology. Building accessibility features into your site can also help. For example, being able to change font size, type, or colour backgrounds.

Accessibility overlays or plugins can interfere with technology people are already using. Do some research before using them. It’s better to build accessibility into your website.

Why accessibility overlays do not improve site accessibility

Making your content dyslexia friendly

Assistive technology and software can help the individual. But it’s important that organisations make their work, products and services accessible. This means making sure your content is as accessible as possible from the beginning.

Everyone should know how to:

  • format text and create easy to read layouts
  • use plain English
  • use dyslexia friendly colours
  • create other content formats

Learn more about writing content for dyslexia.

Related Scope products

1 hour introduction to accessibility training
1-day accessibility training course (for individuals)
Content accessibility training (for businesses)
Bespoke accessibility training