Why Do Some People Find It Difficult to Disclose Their Dyslexia at Their Workplace?
This paper provides a brief overview of the research based study being conducted for the investigation into the reasons why dyslexic patients refrain from disclosing their impairment at their workplace. The suggested study is a qualitative study of adult dyslexics and uses age based sampling: dyslexics aged from 18 to 45. Conducted as a survey research, the study would deduce literary theories from the available literature on the subject matter and connect those theories with the findings of the survey with the help of thematic analysis. The literature suggests that the self-perception of the dyslexics is damaged; thus, due to the fear of being rejected the dyslexics hide their impairment at their workplaces. This research would critically evaluate the reasons that have an impact upon the self-perceptions of the dyslexic patients. The study is suggested to be qualitative in nature and would follow a survey strategy; a closed ended questionnaire would be used in the research. The findings from the study are expected to have significant implications for guiding future research on the subject of dyslexia as well as having specific suggestions for dyslexics who find it troublesome to cope up with their disability at the workplace.
The current paper provides a synopsis for the investigation into the reasons why dyslexic patients hide their disability at the workplace. In the course of the suggested study, a survey of dyslexic patients in the UK will be conducted to determine the reasons why these patients shy away from telling their bosses and co-workers about their condition. This synopsis explains the research rationale, aims and objectives, research questions, literature review and methodology for conducting the study. It further highlights the expected problems and limitations of the proposed research.
2.1 Research Rationale:
Regardless of the vast number of journals and articles that have been written about dyslexia, a large gap still remains in the exploration of this disability within the literature, highlighted by a lack of research from the perspective of the individual with dyslexia, what it feels like to be dyslexic and how dyslexic patients cope in their day to day lives (Bell, 2009). This research will analyse the literature, theories and research regarding the self-perceptions of individuals and how the presence of dyslexia affects the confidence or courage of dyslexics within the workplace.
2.2 Aims and Objectives:
Research shows that each study requires research aims and objectives to guide it in the course of its investigation, thus Bryman, (2001) stated that aims and objectives can be regarded as those underlying factors that assist the enquiry. He further states that any research would be void of substance without its aims and objectives. Consequently, the following aims and objectives were designed to accomplish this study:
1- To review the available literature on why dyslexic adults don’t disclose their impairment at their workplace.
2- To determine causes that refrain the dyslexic patients from disclosing their disability at work.
3- To compare and contrast the reasons evident in the literature with those of the study findings.
4- To analyse and suggest feasible ways through which the patients of dyslexia can cope with their disability whilst at work.
5- To provide direction for further research into the field of discovering dyslexia from the viewpoint of a dyslexic.
2.3 Research Questions
As aforementioned, this study seeks to investigate the reasons why dyslexic patients refrain from disclosing their disability at the workplace. Consequently, in order to discover the reasons highlighted within the research, certain relevant research questions were deemed necessary. These include the following:
1 Why do dyslexic patients avoid disclosing their impairment at the workplace?
2 What are the reasons that compel the dyslexic patients to refrain from disclosing their disability at work?
3 How can dyslexic patients overcome their hesitance in disclosing their impairment?
3 Literature Review
3.1 Theoretical frameworks
Despite the extensive research conducted on dyslexia, its symptoms and cures, there is substantial gap in the knowledge and research around the way dyslexic individuals manage their impairment and their daily routines (Bell, 2009). According to the World Federation of Neurology, dyslexia can be defined as;
“…a disorder of constitutional origin manifested by a difficulty in learning to read, write or spell, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and sociocultural opportunity” (Brazeau-Ward, 1998).
Theories and literature provide us with numerous reasons as to why dyslexics refrain from disclosing their condition to their co-workers, bosses and peers at work. In a survey conducted by Sheila Blankfield (2001), a dyslexic fresh graduate stated(Blankfield, 2001);
‘I will not mention it on my CV because I think it’s hard enough to find a job already without labelling something that people don’t understand and will instantly put you down upon it”.
According to Tinklin, Riddell & Wilson (2004) many dyslexic patients regard themselves as non-disabled and as such do not feel the need to tell others around them about their impairment. People diagnosed with dyslexia rejected the term ‘disabled’, which they would usually associate with having a sensory disability or being a wheelchair user (Tinklin et al., 2004). Likewise, according to Bandura’s (1997) theory of ‘self-efficacy’:
“’It all comes back to confidence and belief in yourself”.
A dyslexic adult is likely to have faced higher levels of failure than non-dyslexics in their childhood and as a result, this would have a direct impact upon their self-perception (Bell, 2009.) The literature and scholarly articles provide one with a multitude of reasons that could be contributory to the hesitance of dyslexics in disclosing their disability at work (Blankfield, 2001).
4.1 Research Design:
The methodology design is a very important part of any research based study. According to De Vaus, (2001);
“The function of a research design is to ensure that the evidence obtained enables us to answer the initial question as unambiguously as possible”.
For the purpose of this research, the researcher has chosen qualitative research with the survey research design. A survey strategy is easy and economical, and can help collect quality data in short spaces of time (Saunders et al., 2007). The sample size for the survey is suggested to be 30; however, the size can be reduced due to certain problems and limitations of research. Furthermore, as aforementioned, demographic sampling would be used. Patients of dyslexia aged between 18-45 years would be selected and contacted for the study and would be asked to fill in the questionnaires. This age group has been chosen because they would all be adults with different levels of experiences as well as social motivations. A qualitative research approach has been adopted in the course of this study,which is also referred to as inductive approach, through which one can understand the research context and the occurrence of different events. However, the drawback of this research approach is its extensive nature and that it cannot be defined or measured. Different scholars have observed that this approach relies upon a phenomenological and post-empirical assessment of the world, which perceives that reality is constructed socially as depicted by the situational context (Bryman and Bell, 2007).
5 Data Collection and Analysis
For data collection purposes, a researcher is provided with two techniques: primary data collection and secondary data collection. The suggested research would be primary research and would make use of primary data. As previously mentioned, a survey strategy would be employed and in accordance, questionnaires would be used as data collection tools. The development of a questionnaire is a lengthy process; however, it is alongside meeting the data collection needs of the research. Prior to development of the questionnaire a framework would be designed using a literature review.
Using the literature review, the main causes would be identified that have an impact upon the self-perceptions of dyslexics. For the initial literature review it is suggested that it includes several theories such as Bandura’s (1997) theory of ‘self-efficacy’, Attribution Theory, Emotional Intelligence etc. and as such they should be studied in order to predict the reasons as to why dyslexic adults shy away from telling their co-workers and bosses about their reading disability. The reasons predicted by the literature will become clearer and more defined for the researcher after carrying out the initial literature review. For the purpose of analysis, thematic analysis would be used to compare themes emerging from the literature with the findings of the survey.
5.1 Research limitations
Two of the most important limitations that the researcher would need to consider at every step of the research are time and capital. Besides time and finance, the scope of the research would be limited to the UK. It is envisaged that though there are numerous aspects pertaining to the disability to read and characteristics that relate to the way dyslexic patients feel and cope with it, this study would concern itself only with the notion of disclosing their impairment at the workplace. The research conducted in the future could examine the other aspects for further exploration of the way dyslexics get on with their lives. Furthermore, as the research is both personally and socially sensitive, an air of caution in approaching the subject matter is of great importance. Anonymity must be maintained at all times and individuals must be aware of their rights as research participants, predominantly those set by social science councils and governing bodies of research.
5.2 Provisional work schedule
|Data Collection through survey|
|Results and Recommendations|
|Introduction to the Study|
This study is aimed at understanding and assessing the reasons that cause restraint within dyslexic adults when disclosing their impairment at the workplace. A lack of sensitivity within their place of work, competition for employment, risks of job losses, self-perceptions and disregarding of dyslexia as a disability are some of the few predicted reasons. In order for dyslexic adults to overcome their hesitance, they need to have a thorough understanding of their impairment and the ways in which they are able to cope with such within their line of work. A proactive investigation into the subject field is necessary to further explore dyslexia and the way those affected are able to deal with it. Therefore, this research provides an insight for researchers working within dyslexia by documenting the potential reasons and causes behind inhibitions that could benefit the subject area, and the dyslexic individual, and provide further research direction into the field.
Bandura, A., 1997. Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. 1997. Knowledge is necessary but insufficient to change behavior.[BoFe91].
Bell, S., 2009. Age is a Beautiful Thing. How do adults with dyslexia navigate the non-dyslexic world? An investigation into the coping strategies used by dyslexic adults from a community education centre. [online] Available at: <http://dyslexic.chowo.co.uk/images/final.pdf> [Accessed 20 Jul. 2012].
Blankfield, S., 2001. Thick, problematic and costly? The dyslexic student on work placement. Skill Journal, pp.23–26.
Brazeau-Ward, L., 1998. DYSLEXIA CONCERNS US! [online] Available at: <http://www.dyslexia-centre.com/english/files/Dyslexia_concerns_us.pdf> [Accessed 19 Jul. 2012].
Bryman, A., 2001. Social science research methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bryman, A., and Bell, E., (2007), Business research methods, Oxford University Press, New York.
Tinklin, T., Riddell, S., Wilson, A. and Sociology, U. of E.C. for E., 2004. Disabled students in higher education. [online] Centre for Educational Sociology. Available at: <http://its-services.org.uk/silo/files/disabled-students-in-higher-education.pdf> [Accessed 19 Jul. 2012].
De Vaus, D.A., 2001. Research design in social research. Sage Publications Ltd.
Saunders, M., Lewis, P., and Thornhill, A. (2007). Research Methods for Business Students, Delhi: Pearson Education.