One of the greatest pleasures of my career has been working with Janette Beetham of Right Resources over the last five years to develop a process of support of dyslexic staff and managers at Imperial College London. The process we developed and implemented was a collaborative one with dyslexic staff at the heart of the process. The emphasis is on ensuring the staff members feel empowered and the line manager knows how to support them from start to finish. Over 5 years I have seen 60 staff members access screenings, work place needs assessments and workplace strategy coaching, which has enabled them to move forward in their careers.

So, after this, where next – are there any other ways to add value aside from one-to-one support? We have evidence the process works, from the recent paper that Janette and I have published. so does any organisation really require or need more? Well, I would say yes! The next stage is to embed the concepts, understanding and thinking about SpLDs and neuro-divergence. As with all diversity and inclusion work, it must be mainstreamed through involved and engaged staff and not simply seen as a bolt-on or a nice-to-have. So, how can this be done in an effective and meaningful way?

The passion and thirst for knowledge regarding SpLDs is palpable. Over the last five years, I have seen a shift in UK workplaces from SpLDs being seen as a secret, seldom to be disclosed to being increasingly embraced as a part of talent management. Don’t get me wrong, we as advocates and staff are still on a journey, but there has certainly been a sea change. Harnessing this interest from the wider organisation and focussing on knowledge transfer is how Dyslexia Champions TM was born.

The Dyslexia Champions TM programme is a two-day course, with an OCN Level 2 certification endorsed by the British Dyslexia Association. Over two days delegates acquire knowledge of neuro-divergent spectrum and the comorbidity (co-existence) of these. They appreciate the potential challenges faced by those who have little understanding of their own processing differences and/or no appropriate, tailored strategies or tools in place. During the programme delegates have an opportunity to deepen their active listening skills and gain an understanding of the potential impact dyslexia and other neuro-divergent ‘conditions on well-being and mental health.

The Dyslexia Champions TM contribute to dyslexia/neuro-divergence friendly’ workplace culture by being guidance beacons for neuro-divergence. Their role is to signpost, guide and advise any staff, managers and leaders about how to access further support. Their accredited status is acquired through the completion of a workbook assignment (accompanied by mentoring) and their CPD ensures they keep up to date and are able to continue to provide a quality service to those who approach them for guidance.

To find out more about the programme and the first cohort of delegates, videos are available to view: http://bit.ly/2tq2o7x and http://bit.ly/2upH4iH

The programme can be run in-house for a single organisation, or with multiple organisations. In addition, Janette Beetham and I will be running an open course for anyone interested on 1 and 2 November 2017 in Westminster. To find out more please get in contact with us http://www.right-resources.org.uk/contact-us.html

We look forward to welcoming you on the programme and hope you will join us in our vision to create a positive neurodiverse workplace for all.