Agencies and brands urged to fight dyslexia prejudice

diversityThe DMA is calling on businesses in the creative, data and marketing industries to become far more inclusive, releasing new guidance to help employers better understand dyslexia in the workplace, created using insights from neurodiversity consultants, brand owners, and dyslexic staff.

Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental condition which mainly affects the development of literacy and language related skills. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, but symptoms will likely range significantly between each person.

Using expert insights from neurodiversity consultants and feedback from dyslexic professionals, the DMA Talent: Dyslexia Employer Guide is designed to help employers to understand dyslexia and what they can do to make their workplace more inclusive.

The guide provides comprehensive guidance and recommendations on reasonable adjustments that employers can make to recruitment processes, the workplace environment, support networks, and most importantly, how to treat employees as individuals.

In addition, it features case studies offering advice for dyslexic people written by dyslexic professionals, from junior marketing executives all the way to managing director level, on useful coping mechanisms they apply on potentially problematic areas and how their skillsets have helped them to thrive in the creative industries.

Sign Salad managing director Laura Chamberlain said she used to keep her dyslexia a secret when she first entered the working world. She added: “For the first 15 years or so of my career, I rarely, if ever, mentioned it for fear of revealing a vulnerability and being seen as ‘not good enough’ in some way.

“Unfortunately, too many adversarial agency cultures persist, where people feel they need to present themselves as invulnerable and as an ideal, titanium version of their role. It’s unrealistic and exhausting for everyone, not just the neurodiverse community.”

The guide has been co-authored by DMA Talent general manager Kate Burnett and Dyslexia Assessment & Consultancy director Katherine Kindersley and follows last year’s employer guide to hiring autistic people, compiled using insights gleaned from the NHS, brands, employers and autistic staff.

Burnett said: “This is the latest instalment in our neurodiversity guidance series, offering organisations free advice on how to create a positive, supportive, and flexible workplace culture that permeates all levels of the business.
“Although awareness has increased in recent years, dyslexia remains misunderstood and businesses must do more to become inclusive workplaces.”

Kindersley added: “Employers operating in a competitive commercial world may feel it is not easy to create dyslexia-friendly work environments, but it can be done. Many adjustments are relatively easy to introduce and are not expensive.”

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