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    Private GP Services & Occupational Healthcare in Edinburgh, UK.

    Supporting dyspraxia in the workplace

    Supporting dyspraxia in the workplace

    Posted on June 25th, 2024

    How inclusive is your workplace? How much does your team know about dyspraxia? How equipped are you to bring out the strengths of someone with dyspraxia? These are important questions that every organisation should ask themselves. Especially when you consider 15% of the UK’s population is neurodiverse, and 3-4% of adults are diagnosed as dyspraxic.

    In a bid to increase awareness of the condition, the Occupational Health experts at YourGP are here to guide you through the process of making your workplace as open and welcoming as possible to those with dyspraxia. In so doing, your business can benefit from the wealth of talent, skills and perspective they can bring to your team.

    What is dyspraxia?

    Dyspraxia, also known as developmental coordination disorder, affects an individual’s balance, movement and coordination. It can also affect how they learn new skills, process and remember information. It can also affect a person’s fine motor skills, therefore impacting their ability to write and type. Dyspraxia can also affect a person’s social skills and their ability to manage their emotions.

    Many people who have dyspraxia also have overlapping conditions such as ADHD or autism, and they may also have dyslexia and dyscalculia.

    Skills and strengths

    People with dyspraxia tend to be good at ‘big picture’ thinking. They can also be great at pattern-spotting and inferential reasoning, and they are often resourceful and determined problem-solvers. For these reasons, they can be a genuine asset to any business. But the key is to provide them with the right help and support to bring out the very best in them. One way to do this is to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace.

    Suggested workplace adjustments

    To bring out the best in any team member, consideration needs to be given to every aspect of their working life.

    The recruitment process:

    1. Consider alternatives to traditional written applications such as recorded videos.
    2. Consider sending the interview questions through in advance so the applicant has ample time to think about their answers, and allow additional time for interviews so the applicant doesn’t feel rushed.
    3. Be aware that many with dyspraxia may take instructions literally and answer questions in a very matter-of-fact way.

    Starting the job:

    1. Ask about the coping strategies already used by the employee.
    2. Consider assigning the employee a mentor or buddy to help them settle in.
    3. Beginning any new job involves getting to grips with a huge amount of new information. Try to avoid overwhelming the employee and instead break the information down into manageable chunks. Factor in more breaks then usual during those first few days to help with concentration.

    Excelling at the job: 

    1. If the employee finds writing difficult, consider providing a laptop.
    2. Help them stay on track by using a calendar, diary or app to organise tasks and meetings.
    3. Ensure all instructions are clear and concise and ideally written down for easy reference.
    4. Many employees with dyspraxia thrive in a set routine, so where possible aim for a structured timetable.
    5. If the employee finds there is too much distraction in the office, consider options such as wearing headphones, partitioning their desk, moving them to a quieter part of the office, allowing them to start earlier or finish later so they can work when the office is quieter, or be open to flexible remote working.

    As with all of the suggestions listed above, the key to making it work is to check in regularly with your employee to confirm what they do and don’t find helpful. Keeping these lines of communication open and having an understanding and open-minded attitude if and when reasonable adjustments in the workplace are requested will create a happier and more productive working environment for all.

    Speak to the experts

    If you would like further information about supporting those with dyspraxia in the workplace, including suggestions of reasonable adjustments specifically tailored to your business, speak to the Occupational Health professionals at YourGP. Simply email occhealth@your.gp and we’ll be happy to arrange an appointment at a time that works for you.

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    Lee S

    YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

    Independent Healthcare Team
    Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
    0131 623 4342 | his.ihcregulation@nhs.scot

    YourGP is registered with the Joint Council of Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) Registered Office: Station Road, North Street, Havant PO9 1QU.