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Resources for Parents: Educate, accept & support kids with dyslexia for successful career

Parents need to educate, accept and support their child with dyslexia and steer their academic career to lead them to be successful to the best of their capabilities.

Work options at 16 for the young person who does not wish to continue formal education due to negative experiences of school because of dyslexia may be limited. Many dyslexics who left school at this age, such as Richard Branson and Lord Sugar, have made their millions, but not everyone can do as well as them. Interestingly, though, recent research from the Cass Business School in London found that more than a third of the entrepreneurs surveyed (35 per cent) identified themselves as dyslexic.

If dyslexics can gain employment after leaving school at 16, there is often a worry about declaring themselves as having a disability, despite the Equalities Act. Companies should, though, make reasonable adjustments and this could include extended training periods or making handouts available in advance of training days. Probably the best thing for an employer to be aware of is that dyslexics have good days and bad days and for the new employee this can prevent them picking up what a new job entails quickly, particularly if they have processing difficulties. If literacy skills are low, many companies will pay for additional specialist tuition or a work-based consultation.

At further education level, a practical apprenticeship may be a positive move for a dyslexic person. Post-16 education and training can provide many opportunities for the dyslexic individual, who may see such training as the opportunity to utilise the strengths and talents that s/he has. This is, however, likely to pose a range of challenges for the organisations involved. For example, they may be dealing with low levels of basic skills, low levels of self-esteem and confidence and disengagement from learning. With the correct support, though, the dyslexic individual can reach their full potential at any age.

First of all, the college needs to make sure that the appropriate accommodations are in place for the written tests for apprenticeships, as the design of some of these tests can be difficult for dyslexic candidates. In England for example, under the Apprenticeship, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2010, examination bodies are able to offer alternative arrangements where necessary for dyslexic students. Should there be any problem, they should contact the course provider about an alternative type of assessment.

There are many positive aspects to having dyslexia and a lot of 16-year-olds choose careers suited to their unique characteristics. Indeed, there are successful dyslexic role models in many walks of life, such as architect Richard Rogers and chef Jamie Oliver.

It can be hard enough being around the age of 16 without having dyslexia, but there is plenty of help there.

To sum up, parents need to educate, accept and support their child with dyslexia and steer their academic career to lead them to be successful to the best of their capabilities.

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