by Olive Hickmott and Andrew Bendefy


I just barely got through school. The problem was a learning disability, at a time when there was nowhere to go for help.

Bruce Jenner, Olympic Gold Medallist

You may work with people who struggle with words and/or numbers. If their difficulties are severe enough, they may have been diagnosed with dyslexia and/or dyscalculia. Whether they face a major or just a minor challenge, with just a little support and forethought, you can help them be far more effective.

If you speak to someone with these sorts of challenges, you will find that they often have exceptionally creative ideas, can see perspectives you may not have considered, are very eloquent and in general have the potential to be a huge asset to your business. You have only to look at the list of famous people to realise that dyslexia and dyscalculia does not have to hold a person back.

This isn’t just about treating people well, as being the ‘human’ thing to do; it’s about you understanding enough to give them the best opportunity to make a real success of their work, and your business.

The work we have done in this area over many years is outlined in this topic; it will enable you, as a leader, to assist those of your team with reading difficulties. You will be surprised just how quickly people can change the way they experience words and numbers, and the positive impact this has on performance, motivation and loyalty.

We will take a close look at how people can improve their experience very simply, quickly and permanently.

One in ten people are currently considered to have dyslexic tendencies. Possibly another two in ten people just don’t spell, read or write very well, yet would never consider themselves dyslexic. That’s 30 per cent of the workforce, so you will almost certainly have people around you, and probably in your team, who face these sorts of difficulties.


Throughout this topic we have referred to dyslexia, but the same principals and techniques are normally true for dyscalculia.

You should know that the majority of such people have struggled with learning difficulties all their lives and frequently equate it with being stupid – often after being told so by their teachers, parents and childhood ‘friends’.

As we have said, these very same people are often exceptionally good at expressing themselves verbally and have a considerable skill in seeing different perspectives and offering innovative suggestions and solutions.

So to unlock more of their potential, learn what you can do to help them.