written by: Cyndi Root•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 10/12/2010
Dyslexia is a different cognitive ability than the norm, specifically in relation to reading skills. Wide variations in symptoms and severity make choosing a career best left to the individual, vocational counselors, and professionals. Careers with a high degree of pressure should be avoided.
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Dyslexics have visual, motor, and auditory processing integration difficulties, so they may ask: What are the best type of jobs for dyslexic people? With modifications and aids, many dyslexic people can function adequately in many jobs. Dyslexia is better thought of as being cognitively different rather than intellectually deficient. However, some jobs like air traffic controller would not be a good choice for a dyslexic person for health and safety reasons in that quick, decisive, and critical assessments must be made, and the pressure to perform may be too much.
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The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) are the main laws to consult related to dyslexia. The ADA specifically addresses workplace problems. A dyslexic person must not be denied employment if the job can be performed with reasonable accommodation. The disability must be kept confidential. You should explain to your employer how your performance may be affected and request modifications. Since many employers may not be educated about dyslexia, a little proactivity on your part may go a long way; you may be able to suggest some concrete measures for reasonable accommodations.
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The law states that reasonable modifications must be made to accommodate the person with dyslexia. The accommodations must not be so drastic as to injure the employer with undue hardship, either financially or with personnel problems. Negotiating accommodations should begin from a position of strength. Your unique cognitive skills can be brought to the forefront. Albert Einstein was dyslexic, and like him you may have much to bring your employer. Testing and evaluation by professionals, educators, psychologists, and vocational counselors would be invaluable to help you with modifications to common workplace problems. Reasonable changes in the environment include but are not limited to touch-screen computer screens, color-coded filing systems, changing colors and fonts, having instructions read aloud, voice-recognition software, and modified work schedules .
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Dyslexia is an umbrella diagnosis for disabilities affecting a wide range of persons, symptoms, and severity. What are the best types of jobs for dyslexic people? Disabilities include problems with speech, memory, physical coordination, hearing, eyesight, reading, writing, telephone, and computer work. These types of skills are needed in varying degrees and combinations at every job. Since most dyslexia pertains to reading problems, a job with critical reading skills may not be a good idea, but a person could still become a teacher with dyslexia.
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In one study of dyslexic men, researchers found evidence of a preference among dyslexics for choosing jobs as managers and sales people rather than careers as professionals such as college teacher, doctor, or lawyer. Jobs with nonacademic competencies like persuasion or taking initiative seem to have appealed to these men more than jobs requiring reading as a primary competency. In another study, this time of dyslexic women, semi-skilled jobs also seemed to be the norm.
Semi-skilled jobs require judgement and take more than a month to learn. Examples of semi-skilled jobs are: nurse's aide, chauffer, carpenter, bartender, forklift driver, or graphic designer. Semi-skilled jobs take advantage of a dyslexic person's normal intelligence but take away the pressure of relying on reading to make progress. A person with dyslexia is best served, like everyone else, to go confidently in the direction of his passions, to work hard, and to seek help and support from professionals to counteract the effects of his disability.