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Dealing with dyslexia as a trainer

2 August 2018

Statistics suggest that around 1 in 10 people in the UK has some form of dyslexia. If you’re a trainer, that means you’ll almost certainly come into contact with it regularly.

 

Dealing with dyslexia as a trainer can be challenging. If you ask the classroom to write their answers to a specific question on a white board, what do you do if someone nervously states that they have dyslexia and doesn’t feel confident doing so?

 

What if a signifiant portion of the subject you’re teaching requires the learners to copy from your whiteboard onto their own notes?

 

Dealing with dyslexia is all about re-establishing confidence in those who are affected. Here’s our favourite ways to do just that.

Find out who has dyslexia

A simple way to do this without embarrassing anyone is to ask each learner to complete a short questionnaire before the training session that includes a question on this subject. It’s ok to ask, and people who have dyslexia will often be grateful for being given the chance.

Don’t ask them to read out loud

Quite often, you’ll want learners to read something out loud in your training session, whether it be a section from a manual, or something someone else has written down.

 

People with dyslexia might find this problematic and get embarrassed if they misread something or skip important words, so avoid asking them to perform any reading during the session.

Expect less written work from them

It’s likely that anyone who has dyslexia in your training session will struggle to put some of their ideas into writing.

 

This is absolutely fine, but it does mean you’ll need to accept you’ll get less written input from them. Instead, focus on verbal input, reading and listening as ways for them to engage with the course material.

Don’t ask them to copy something from the board

If you want learners to copy text from the white board or a book, make it clear that doing so is optional.

 

Always make sure you have printouts that you can give to them at the same time. Rather than copying from the board, you can then suggest they highlight the areas on the printout that contain the most important points.

Focus on verbal answers

If you’re a relatively new trainer, it’s easy to fall into the trap of asking learners to constantly deliver answers to questions in written format.

 

This comes with experience, and while it’s important to include written work during the session, focusing on verbal answers is actually far more interactive, and has the added benefit of setting minds at ease for anyone with dyslexia.

 

If you’ve been on a few training sessions yourself, you’ll no doubt have noticed how little time is spent writing. Experienced trainers know the value of discussing activities and topics, rather than everyone quietly scribbling their thoughts on paper.

Put people in groups

A brilliant, tried-and-tested training tip is to divide people into groups early on.

 

This has two benefits.

 

Firstly, it breaks the ice, and enables everyone to get to know each other. It also introduces some friendly competition between the teams, which will aid the learning considerably.

 

Secondly, it lessens the chance of someone with Dyslexia being saddled with writing tasks. Within the group, the person who’s confident with their writing ability will likely volunteer for the role, and take the pressure off those who might be nervous about the prospect.

Wrapping up

Dyslexia should never be seen as a barrier to learning, and with our tips above, you’ll ensure what might otherwise be a tricky scenario becomes fair for all and doesn’t hamper course progress.

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