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MEF: Bring out the best in dyslexic workers

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Shamsuddin Bardan, executive director of the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) said that bosses must know the strengths of their dyslexic workers and assign them jobs which they can perform well to bring out the best in these workers.

He told FMT: “Dyslexics do well in creative jobs such as designers, musicians and film directors as the jobs require less reading.”

In contrast, he added, if dyslexics are tasked with roles that require a lot more reading, writing or dealing with documentation, they might not be able to perform well.

Shamsuddin said companies should include more dyslexia-friendly measures in written protocols. One example he gave was of how a human resource department can use recording devices to record instructions so that dyslexics would not be disadvantaged in understanding such instructions easily compared with having to read them.

“They can also introduce mind maps or flow charts in different colours on paper,” Shamsuddin advised.

Shamsuddin said that managers should not give too much work at any one time to their workers who are dyslexics because they may have problems memorising a series of instructions. “It would be better to pair them for reading with a co-worker,” he added.

The welfare department has categorised dyslexia – a condition where the person has difficulty reading and writing because they cannot process letters of the alphabet into words – as a form of disability.

When asked if hiring dyslexics would be disadvantages to companies, Shamsuddin told FMT that it would be unfair to generalise them. He added that there is no basis to suggest that employing someone who is dyslexic may cause harm to a company.

Shamsuddin added Malaysia has banned any form of discrimination against disabled persons through the Persons with Disabilities Act, giving them equal rights in the workforce as able-bodied individuals.

“We are responsible to provide necessary tools to help dyslexics in doing their work because the law requires us to do so,” he said.

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