This #NeurodiversityCelebrationWeek Jack Barry talks about how reasonable adjustments can be easier than some people think
If you’re anything like me, you’ve grown up being told that talking about your disability will hold you back in life, that people won’t hire you or that you’ll only be seen as your disability.
I found school to be some of the lowest points in my life. I was taught that there was only one way to learn and that any other way was incorrect. I was also told that I must work things out exactly the way I was taught and that even though I got the right answer I would fail because I didn’t get there the way I was shown. This only re-enforced my negative thought pattern. It confirmed that I was the issue and will always struggle.
I carried that mentality throughout college and even into my first few jobs. But as I’ve got older, I’ve realised that the only reason I’ve struggled wasn’t because I’m dyslexic but because I wasn’t allowed to learn creatively.
Eventually, I started looking for new ways to learn that played to my strengths. This led to me being more open about my dyslexia – with friends and, eventually, with work. I found being more open to the people who directly impacted my future, not only helped me grow, but helped them understand me better and how I see the world.
When starting at Certitude, I spoke to my manager about my dyslexia and what could be done to ensure I have what I need to do my job to the best of my ability. This is when the conversation around “reasonable adjustments” came into play. We discussed it as a team, and each shared how we work. What was the best way for each of us to process information? How could we all support each other? This was super helpful as not only did it allow me to express my work style but I could also understand my colleagues so we could work comfortably and collaboratively.
The reasonable adjustments that have been put in place to help me do my job haven’t been ground-breaking or difficult to implement. As well as the usual tech solutions, they’ve been simple things. We set time aside each week to plan workloads and content. We also collaborate on a joint word document which allows everything to be double checked. These are just a couple of things I do with my manager to make sure I’m both doing my job and developing new skills in a way that works for me. In fact, I feel like everyone could benefit from some adjustments or even an open discussion with their manager and team because personal growth is driven by support.