How to spot and manage dyslexia as an adult


You might have dyslexia and not have a clue that’s the case (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Is spelling tricky for you?

Do you often find yourself reading something over and over again, hoping it’ll finally sink in?

What about exams and presentations – do you struggle to memorise facts or stats?

If you’re nodding along, you might have dyslexia.

And if that comes as a surprise to you, you’re not alone – research says that 80% of dyslexic people leave school without their dyslexia being identified, despite many of us thinking dyslexia is a kids’ thing.

So, how can you tell if you could be dyslexic as an adult? Kate Griggs, the founder and CEO of global charity Made By Dyslexia, reveals five common signs…

Five common signs of dyslexia in adults

  • A mismatch between what you seem capable of verbally and your written communications is a strong indicator of dyslexia. You’ll have lots of great ideas but can be an effort to write them down.
  • Dyslexics see the big picture. We grasp concepts, or ‘get’ things really quickly, often much quicker than others, and we can spot patterns and simplify information very easily too.
  • Dyslexics are imaginative innovators. We love to find new solutions and imagine new possibilities and ask ‘what if’ and ‘why not’? We disrupt the status quo.
  • Dyslexics are master communicators and storytellers. We’re able to get to the core of complex topics and can explain things, clearly and simply.
  • Dyslexics have strong emotional intelligence. We are ‘people’ people – who know how to motivate, lead and inspire teams and delegate effectively.

If any of the above sounds like you, it’s worth taking Madebydyslexia.org’s quick and simple checklist test.


Woman work from home on digital tablet while sitting one chair. Vector illustration in pastel tones

You might find remembering facts hard, or struggle with mental maths (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

‘Dyslexic minds process information differently, creatively,’ Kate tells Metro.co.uk. ‘We are naturally curious, highly creative with an ability to unconventionally connect the dots and think laterally. We also have strengths in areas like problem solving, empathy and communication. And challenges with things like spelling, reading, rote learning and memorising facts.

‘Each dyslexic will have different strengths and challenges.

‘Generally, a dyslexic’s cognitive or thinking profile will be uneven when compared to someone who is not dyslexic. This simply means we’re exceptionally good at some things (often in the top percentiles) and we really struggle with other areas (often in the low percentiles).

‘As a result we need a slightly different approach to teaching and work, with small accommodations and technology to help mitigate our challenges.’

How do we do that? Let’s break it down.

How to manage dyslexia at work

Kate shares five tips for managing dyslexia at work:

  1. Work out what dyslexia means for you. What’s your profile of strengths and challenges? We’re all different and playing to your strengths and delegating challenges will help you so much.
  2. Be honest and up-front with others. Tell your boss and colleagues that you are dyslexic and explain your strengths and challenges. Don’t be embarrassed about it or wait until you hit a problem.
  3. You will be very good at your dyslexic strengths, they will be your superpowers, and understanding and using them will benefit your employer. So, explaining your dyslexia is not just good for you, it’s good for them too.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Don’t just overwork to get through, you will burn out. Technology can help us massively, as can getting information before meetings, so we have more time to read and prepare.
  5. If systems don’t work for you, constructively see if they can be changed. If your employer is going to tap into the very thinking that today’s world of work needs, then they have to understand how to empower Dyslexic Thinking.

‘Around three out of four dyslexics say they hide their dyslexia from their employers,’ Kate adds. ‘Many of us try to fit in, when actually we should be allowing our amazing dyslexic thinking to stand out.

‘Dyslexics have all the top 10 skills every workplace is looking for right now. So, there’s never been a better time to be dyslexic and it’s time to shout it from the rooftops!’

Kate Griggs is the founder and CEO of global charity Made By Dyslexia and author of dyslexia guide This is Dyslexia (Penguin, £11.99) and children’s book Xtraordinary People: Made By Dyslexia (Penguin, £6.99).

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