Long-Term Success Tips for People with Dyslexia
Learn what to expect long-term from a dyslexia diagnosis, including government assistance options, co-existing conditions, and where to find support.
By Ability Central
28 November, 2023
There is so much more to dyslexia than just mixing up letters. As explained in What Does Dyslexia Look Like in Children and Adults?, symptoms of this learning disability impact many aspects of life. This article will address what you need to know about the long-term planning needs for dyslexia, including:
- Is dyslexia considered a disability in the United States?
- Does Social Security Income (SSI) cover dyslexia?
- Should I disclose that I have dyslexia on a job application?
- How might a person with dyslexia struggle in the workplace?
- How do I request accommodations for dyslexia at work?
- What conditions often co-exist with dyslexia?
- What support groups are available?
- Where can I get more information about dyslexia and other learning differences?
Is dyslexia considered a disability in the United States?
Dyslexia qualifies as a protected disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it substantially limits reading and learning. The ADA protects people with disabilities from discrimination within the application process and while employed.
Dyslexia can often make it more difficult to communicate in the workplace, whether that’s because an employee with dyslexia struggles to understand written or visual information, or simply because an employee feels stress or embarrassment related to their dyslexia. While the employer isn’t required to provide accommodations that would cause undue hardship on the business, they must try to find a solution that works both for the employee and the business. To learn more, see Disability Secrets.
Does Social Security Income (SSI) cover dyslexia?
Social Security Income (SSI) is designed to help people with disabilities who have limited income or resources. Specifically, someone over 18 must be unable to do “substantial gainful activity” (SGA), or in other words, earn a certain amount of money from a job. For children under 18, a disability needs to result in “severe functional limitations” in order to qualify for SSI. Each case is different, but some people with dyslexia are eligible for SSI. See Understanding Supplemental Security Income SSI Eligibility Requirements to see if you qualify.
Should I disclose that I have dyslexia on a job application?
An employee or job applicant does not have to disclose their diagnosis of dyslexia within the United States. They may choose to disclose if accommodations will be required.
For tips on how people with dyslexia can create an excellent resume for a future employer, see How to apply for jobs if you have dyslexia.
How might a person with dyslexia struggle in the workplace?
LDOnline offers accommodation recommendations for each of the following areas in which employees with dyslexia may struggle:
- Difficulty reading
- Losing things
- Struggling to follow spoken directions
- Difficulty understanding underlying messages
- Forgetting deadlines
- Struggling to do more than one task at a time
- Difficulty with spelling and grammar
- Reversing or confusing number sequences
- Struggling to work in an open space
- Difficulty with short-term memory
- Struggling with intensive training classes and conferences
How do I request accommodations for dyslexia at work?
The Job Accommodations Network (JAN) is the go-to resource to walk you through how to request specific work accommodations. They are available through online chat, or you can call them at (800) 526-7234.
If you prefer local support, see Ability Central’s searchable database of nonprofits that support people with dyslexia.
What conditions often co-exist with dyslexia?
About 50% of people with dyslexia will experience other Specific Learning Difficulties (SLD). Someone with “co-existing” conditions, also called “co-occurring” or “comorbid” conditions, experiences more than one SLD or other medical condition at the same time. See What Does Dyslexia Look Like in Children and Adults? for more information about SLDs.
When a healthcare professional evaluates a person for dyslexia, they are also checking for co-existing conditions. Other conditions that often accompany dyslexia include:
- Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Executive Functioning Disorder
- Speech/Language Disorders
What support groups are available for people with dyslexia?
Adult professionals who have dyslexia can often feel alone and misunderstood. A support group can help.
Dyslexia support groups are available online and in person. If you prefer in-person support, see:
- Ability Central’s online database of nonprofits
- Local chapters of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA)
- Your healthcare provider
Online support groups include:
- Adult Dyslexia support group
- Celebrate Dyslexia
- Dyslexia Group
- Dyslexia Support and Awareness Group
- Made By Dyslexia
- The Dyslexia Initiative
If you cannot find a support group that meets your needs, consider starting one through your local IDA chapter.
Where can I get more information?
To learn more about other learning disabilities, see:
- A Quick Guide to Dyscalculia: Symptoms, Impact, and Treatment
- Dysgraphia in Children and Adults: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments
Ability Central offers the following resources to help you understand a dyslexia diagnosis.