Neurodiversity is becoming an increasingly used term within the diversity and inclusion umbrella. Employment coaches are also becoming more and more common with in organisations that advocate for conditions such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD and Autism. I caught up with Guy Brewer to find out what a dyslexia coach does and how he can help both employees and employers.
- What does a dyslexia coach do?
What I do is to give people time to think about their situation, understand and explore their dyslexic traits, and consider strategies to manage the challenges. Collectively, that builds self-awareness and helps to reconstruct self-confidence.
2. What’s your background, how did you get to starting your own business?
I spent 20 years as a support teacher for pupils with visual impairment. After finishing that role, I was offered the chance to do some dyslexia coaching by someone I knew (Eileen Taylor who owns Golexia), and who knew me. Subsequently, I was contacted via LinkedIn by two other companies who asked me to do dyslexia coaching.
3. What other services do you and GoLexia provide?
Golexia is not my business. They mainly do diagnostic assessment for dyslexia.
My business is basically as a dyslexic coach – that is the main source of income. The work mainly comes from 3 companies and is funded by Access To Work. I do a very small amount of independent/private coaching work. I also do the occasional workplace needs assessment for Golexia, for employees with dyslexia. On rare occasions I do an awareness-raising session about dyslexia. I also have a YouTube channel (Guy Brewer), my LinkedIn page, and through the Positive About Neurodiversity brand have an Instagram, TikTok and Facebook profile. These are all relatively new and aim to raise awareness
4. What are the biggest misconceptions about employing people with dyslexia?
Very few people understand that dyslexia is not just about difficulty with reading and writing.
I cannot reliably answer this. I hear about the perceptions of employees, which may not be an accurate representation of the situation from the angle of the employer
5. What are the biggest issues that you come across from dyslexic people looking for employment?
There’s a lot of apprehension around the whole recruitment process – the creating an updated CV, the form-filling, and the interview.
I only speak to dyslexic people who are already in employment, so I don’t feel qualified to speculate.
6. You spend a lot of time developing your social media. What channels work best for the content you provide?
LinkedIn seems to be effective for making contacts. YouTube allows me to show my ideas. Facebook provides a forum for people to comment.
7. How did the pandemic affect your services? Are there any positives you can take from this time?
Before the pandemic I was driving to all my appointments and could only see two people a day, because of where I live. No one wanted to have their coaching delivered remotely when I suggested it. As a result of the pandemic, I now see many more people each week, and don’t have to spend hours each day driving. For me it has been a very positive experience in that respect and saved a lot of money. It’s not ideal, but it’s not bad either.
8. Are there any Irish businesses or people in Diversity and Inclusion that you are fans of?
I have a high regard for all people who work hard running small businesses wherever they are. Having been employed by the state for 25 years as a teacher I now realise what a luxury that was – paid holidays, sick pay, pension, security.
I also have a high regard for all people in the world of Diversity and Inclusion – it’s a valiant but uphill struggle that doesn’t pay very well and takes a lot of time and energy.