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Media Release for the WAC report


WAC Neurodiverse Voices: Opening the Doors to Employment

Author Dr Ross Cooper
Neurodiversity and dyslexia

Author : Mary Colley
Neurodiversity and dyspraxia
New Commission to investigate recruitment and Dyslexia/Neurodiversity
written by Melanie Jameson, Chair of the Dyslexia Adult Network for AchieveAbility

Dyslexia-friendly approaches to job recruitment wouldn't that be a goal worth pursuing? This issue was identified following a recent meeting in Parliament, initiated by AchieveAbility, on matters affecting adults with Dyslexia/Neurodiversity. It is to be investigated through the establishment of a temporary commission, running for twelve months from October 2016.

This will be a complex, multifaceted piece of work, championed from within Parliament in order to have the maximum impact. As Chair of the Dyslexia Adult Network I have been invited to join the working group. In our initial meeting we considered evidence to justify a commission, mapped out the process and determined the key players: Barry Sheerman MP, who will chair, and Lord Addington (well known to BDA) who will advise. Both have confirmed their willingness to take on these roles.

We expect the key questions for the commission to include the following:
What data exists to demonstrate that dyslexic/neurodiverse people have a greater chance of unemployment?
What are the barriers when they seek to take up employment?
What are the recruitment processes that disadvantage dyslexic/neurodiverse people?
What might be done to improve recruitment processes?

Cross-party involvement will be sought from parliamentarians who have a link to dyslexia/ neurodiversity and disability. Alliances are being formed with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Disabilities and SEN Employment Links.

The necessary information will be gathered in various ways: through a call for evidence, a survey, and through witness from experts invited to present to the Commission. Bearing in mind the neurodiversity of the population who will wish to contribute, our methods will include Skype and input from those who prefer to express themselves visually. In addition to documenting the barriers, case studies of good practice will be sought.

There will be a tight timetable: in October we shall finalise representation on the Commission, draw up a list of those we wish to call for evidence and draft the survey questions to be sent out in November. The formal call for evidence goes out in the New Year, giving us a couple of months to collect and analyse data. The focus will then move to pulling out recommendations and considering the overall shape of the report. When the Commission meets again in July it will initiate report writing and finalise plans for publication. We plan to launch the report during Dyslexia Awareness Week in October 2017.

The final report should be as accessible as possible, with clear recommendations. This will provide other campaigning groups, such as the Dyslexia Adult Network, with a platform from which to push this agenda further. Having raised the issue at the parliamentary level, it will be harder for the Department for Work and Pensions to ignore our input, which is aligned with the government's stated aim of halving the Disability Employment Gap. With a Green Paper on employment on the way, there could be no better time to highlight the employment needs of this neglected population and point to better recruitment practices.