Getting the right person for the job is a key part of business success. Organisations and firms spend a lot of time, effort and expense recruiting people to fit specific roles in order to, ultimately, boost productivity and increase profits. But what if the measure of ability is inadequate? What if, by testing one set of abilities, you are missing out on another? People with dyslexia are disadvantaged when it comes to writing and reading, but they have excellent skills in other areas.
What is Dyslexia?
“Firstly, it isn’t an intellectual disability”, explains Joe Russo of Derby-based charity, The Enthusiasm Trust. “For many people with dyslexia, the problems begin at school, where the emphasis is on reading and writing”.
Dyslexia is a common, specific learning difficulty, mainly affecting the ability to read and spell words. It is a lifelong problem but with the right support its disadvantages can be overcome.
“It can result in poor or inconsistent spelling, slow reading and writing, and a lack of understanding of information that’s written down, as opposed to being verbally communicated”, Joe says.
“The key thing is that people with dyslexia may well have skills in other areas, but because of their impaired reading and writing abilities, these can get overlooked”
Different Skill Sets
There are positive aspects to being dyslexic. Because dyslexia arises out of a neurological difference, it occurs at all levels of intelligence. Therefore, many dyslexics display intelligence in other aspects such as problem-solving and troubleshooting.
“People with dyslexia are often great visual thinkers, and make distinctive designers and artists”, Joe points out. “After all, Leonardo da Vinci was dyslexic”.
In fact, the roll call of famous achievers with dyslexia is impressive. They include prominent business figures from Sir Richard Branson and Theo Paphitis to famous scientists like Nikola Tesla and Galileo, and entrepreneurial innovators Steve Jobs and Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA.
“Obviously businesses should be inclusive when it comes to hiring employees, and willing to make reasonable adjustments”, Joe states. “Beyond this is the very real potential of people, and making sure that it is thoroughly explored”.
“I am dyslexic”, concludes Joe. “I know about barriers and how hard they can be to overcome. That’s why I care so much about helping others and about getting people to realise the potential that so many people with dyslexia have”.
Joe Russo works with businesses on issues such as dyslexia awareness, staff development, team building and change management. To discover how your business can benefit from these, please call The Enthusiasm Trust on 01332 362 479. All proceeds of this work goes to The Enthusiasm Trust.