I’m going to start by telling you a story: I am a brand manager for an education charity. This means that I promote our opportunities at my university campus through events and drop ins. One time, we were running an event at the maths faculty, and I was required to bring a number of different supplies. Collecting these took a long time, because i struggled to remember the many different elements. As a result, I was late setting off, and am a slow cycler. I proceeded to get lost despite checking the directions multiple times, and arrive late, and upon arriving, realised that I was also supposed to do a shout out at the end of a lecture, which I missed because of my lateness. This resulted in a reprimand from my manager, which in turn caused me to start crying from the frustration of the whole ordeal – not ideal!
In this article, I’m going to give you an insight into how I tried to turn situations like this around, to ensure that I was supported in the workplace, and was able to support myself. Starting a new job is difficult for everyone, but Dyspraxia can make adjusting and succeeding to the workplace that extra bit harder. Dyspraxic people achieve amazing things in all areas of society, but a little bit of understanding and co-operation can go a long way towards making your experience at the workplace easier! Here is a step-by-step guide to managing workplace related issues and misunderstandings.
A key part of managing a learning difficulty is thinking about the ways it might affect your performance. When you start a job, it helps to write down the key responsibilities that the job may entail. After you have done this, use the Dyspraxia foundation website or your disability report to see which elements you might struggle with because of your dyspraxia. My own example is shown below in the first row of the template, as well as an empty table you can fill in yourself, which is able to download at the bottom of the post!
2. Document and Log
As well as predicting the stuggles you might face, it is also very useful to keep track of your workplace experience: look at what goes well, and what doesnt and then try and figure out why. In education, this is called a ‘learning log’, but can also be very useful in workplace scenarios. Here’s an example of my learning log:
Communicating these issues with your employer is important. Firstly, it helps to send them a link to the Dyspraxia Foundation Website’s employers page. Secondly, I found it very useful to make a Development Plan which clearly shows the problems you face, and how you aim to accomodate for them, and what changes the employer should make – check out the example in the template!
4. Know your rights
Finally, its important to know what support your employer is obligated to provide for you. The Dyspraxia Foundation provide excellent information for employers and employees to help people with dyspraxia in the work place. It is a legal requirement to ensure that no-one is discriminated against in the workplace because of their disability, and Dyspraxia deserves to be taken seriously.
Here’s the template (click to open):
Check it out, and let me know how you get on! If you have any suggestions or experiences, please do share in the comments below.