Dyspraxia in the Workplace

A guide for employers

Between 5 percent and 10 percent of the population have some symptoms of dyspraxia. It is probable that people who have dyspraxia work for your organisation. The Dyspraxia Foundation has developed these guideline to raise awareness amongst employers and to provide support to employees.

Adults with dyspraxia are often determined, hard working and highly motivated they develop their own strategies for working effectively. In many ways, people who have dyspraxia are similar to those who have dyslexia: they are often creative and original thinkers as well as strategic problem solvers.

How can employers help?

  • Make sure instructions are concise and wherever possible provide timetables, mnemonics and mind maps as these help people with dyspraxia to prioritise their work and meet deadlines. They should be encouraged to write instructions down clearly and to keep them for easy reference.
  • Employees who have dyspraxia respond well to routines. They benefit from provision of a structured timetable and the opportunity for training in time-management.
  • People with dyspraxia should be encouraged to break down their work into manageable chunks and to use different coloured folders for different tasks to help with organisation. Allowing regular breaks can improve productivity.
  • Word processors which have grammar and spell checks can be of great use, as can speech recognition and proof reading programs. Templates can be used for detailed work such as reports and provide a framework for writing.
  • The personís position at the word processor/computer should also be taken into account. Ergonomics keyboards can be of great benefit to all employees as can changing or slowing down the mouse. Keyboard short cuts can also be used as an alternative to the mouse.
  • If employees with dyspraxia use machines such as fax machines and photocopiers, keep a list of the operating procedures nearby. This is helpful for all employees.
  • It may be possible to arrange for employees with dyspraxia to come in early or to stay late, to reduce distraction. Perhaps they can have a partition around their desk, own room or allow them to wear earphones to reduce distractions.
  • Encourage your workers who have dyspraxia to approach tasks in a calm and positive manner.

The provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act cover those people whose ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities is adversely affected by a physical or mental impairment on a long term basis. Under the terms of the Act, an employer must make reasonable adjustments to accommodate a disabled persons needs. Support can sometimes be provided for the individual and paid for by the Employments Service’s Disability Team.

Above all, employers need to ensure that their employees with dyspraxia have the opportunity to develop their strengths and are given appropriate support to minimise the impact of their symptoms.

Further reading

Living with Dyspraxia By Mary Colley and the Dyspraxia Foundation Adult Support Group, A guide for adults with developmental dyspraxia

Dyslexia in the Workplace By Diana Bartlett & Sylvia Moody

Additional information

Adult Support Group

Peter Keegan email: peterkeegan55@hotmail.com

Disability Service Teams at main Local Job Centres

They have programmes to help the employer with the costs of making adaptations such as the access to work scheme.

A Disability Employment Advisor (DEA)

They can refer the employee to a local employment service occupation psychologist who can assess employees who have dyspraxia.

Employer’s Forum on Disability

Tel: 020 7403 3020

RADAR

Tel: 0207250 3222

Ability Net

(Information on computers for the disabled) www.abilitynet.co.uk

Dyspraxia Foundation

8 West Alley, Hitchin, Herts SG5 1EG
Tel 01462 455016 (Admin)