Adults with SpLDs - Spotting Signs and Advancing Awareness

Adults with SpLDs

There are 7 million dyslexic people in the UK by conservative measures, of whom 85% are adults. However, up to half of these may not realise they are dyslexic and most of the rest are not connected up to be able to influence organisations or society.” - British Dyslexia Association.

Conversations surrounding SpLds tend to be focussed upon the diagnosis of young children and support mechanisms which can aid their school experience. However, it is important to raise awareness around the fact that 85% of dyslexics in the UK are adults, and many don’t even realise that they have an SpLD. This is largely because people are unaware of the signs of SpLDs and are unaware of where/how to seek help.

Present Pal wants to raise awareness around the fact that a large chunk of the SpLD population are now in their adult years. From young adult students to middle-aged adults in their careers, this blog will discuss signs of dyslexia, workplace solutions for employers to implement and support for adults who think that they may have an SpLD.

Signs of  Dyslexia in Adults

The key signs of dyslexia tend to be associated with reading and writing issues, such as: 

However, being dyslexic can also encompass difficulties with organisational skills, memory, word retrieval and information processing (Helen Arkell).

For example, 

Workplace Solutions for Neurodiverse Adults

There are various simple methods which can be adopted to cater for adults with SpLDs in the workplace.

Simple workflow adjustments such as taking breaks after long meetings can be extremely beneficial for neurodiverse workers. Due to short attention spans and an inability to process information quickly, taking regular breaks can help to refresh the mind. Here at Present Pal, we have adopted an agile working approach. Whenever the team are feeling bogged down or cannot concentrate, we take a walk out in the fresh air to clear our minds and have non-work related chats! It is also important for us to change our working environment frequently, such as working in cafes.

Another popular method to make reading/writing more accessible is the use of colour overlays. For example, Holly Willoughby recently spoke up about her experiences with dyslexia and said that she uses coloured scripts before presenting on This Morning. Holly “often gets letters back to front or even upside down”, but colour overlays have helped her to read and memorise her lines more effectively. Holly has managed to cater for her personal workplace needs through the simple decision to change the colour of her scripts, which has enhanced her information processing skills and given her more confidence as an adult with an SpLD.

Support for Neurodiverse Adults

It is crucial to recognise that adults may be unaware of their SpLDs.  Employers have a role in encouraging assessments for workers that show signs of having an SpLD and adapting workplace practices to cater for these needs.  

English Assessments

Scottish Assessments

Welsh Assessments

Alongside adapting workflow and information processing methods, assistive technology can aid neurodiverse workers. Employers can provide their workers with assistive technology by encouraging them to apply for Access to Work, where softwares like Present Pal are recommended for workers with disabilities and SpLDs.

Present Pal has an array of expert-advised features which support individuals with SpLDs such as dyslexia, ADHD and autism.

Present Pal guides users through their presentation with interactive flashcards on their smartphone or tablet, integrating fully with Microsoft PowerPoint so that users can also control their slides whilst they present.  

Present Pal has various dyslexia-friendly features such as 3-5 bullet points per flashcard (with the current bullet point appearing significantly larger than the others around it) and pop up bubbles which act like a safety net to store key information that the presenter may otherwise have forgotten.

Present Pal can also be personalised to suit individual needs by choosing from Crossbow Education approved colour overlays, font faces and sizes to reduce the user’s visual stress whilst presenting. These expert-advised features aid presenters by providing dependable, anxiety-relieving assistance.

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VIDEO: ‘Present Pal Overview’