From Hidden Challenges to Celebrated Strengths - Dyslexia Diagnosis | Outsource UK
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From Hidden Challenges to Celebrated Strengths - Dyslexia Diagnosis

21st March 2024

This week is Neurodiversity Celebration Week. A worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences and we're proud to be supporting it! We caught up with our Client Solutions Director, Sean Walsh, who was happy to share his story on his recent dyslexia diagnosis.

Hi Sean! Tell us a bit about yourself!

I joined Outsource in early 2001 and I've been lucky to perform all of the customer-facing roles you can think of in a recruitment business. From a Recruiter to designing Talent Solutions for global brands.

I have never enjoyed spelling, reading or writing but it’s also essential in my role. I probably spend longer on written tasks than the majority of people and constantly checking your work for mistakes can be tiring. I can often read my work, think it’s fine and then on a second review, I can spot some obvious mistakes. Luckily I prefer to verbally communicate so I was probably destined for a career in recruitment!

When did you find out you had Dyslexia?

November 2023.

Why did you want to get diagnosed?

During the last two years, I've spent a lot of time with customers discussing their inclusive hiring strategies. We'd regularly discuss the challenges of people with different backgrounds such as work returners, disabled, neurodivergent, LGBTQ+ and individuals from an ethnic minority. During an allyship event I attended in London at Barclays last year, I mentioned to a peer that I thought I might be dyslexic but I had never been formally diagnosed. This conversation made me more intrigued to find out if my instincts were indeed correct. At midnight I started to complete a couple of free online assessments and both came back with results that said there was a high chance I could be dyslexic. To be clear, this is like using Google to identify an illness so it wouldn’t be my recommended method for a formal diagnosis for anyone. It was just a starting point for me.

What was the process you went through to get diagnosed?

I found a local specialist who assessed adults, had an initial consultation and then undertook 3 hours of testing. It definitely felt like going back to primary school. When were you last asked to break words down and sound them out or write a story on any topic of your choice, without stopping to think what you were writing? I quite enjoyed solving puzzles under a time limit.

Did you suspect you had dyslexia sooner? 

I vaguely remember saying to family years ago that I thought I might be but I guess I’ve always just got on with my life thinking nothing could actually be done to make my life any easier. Additionally, I just thought I wasn’t very good at spelling!

Since being diagnosed, how’s that been?

I’ve never been embarrassed about being diagnosed with dyslexia and I think whatever conditions or challenges people face in life, it has made me more empathetic. We're all different and that’s what makes our world such an interesting place. If we were all the same, wouldn’t life be boring.

It has made me reflect on what I do and don’t like doing. I try to spend more time doing the tasks I am good at. I enjoy solving problems and verbally interacting with people so common sense says, do more of that!

Are there any tips you can give others who might think they have dyslexia?

I've started to use tools like Chat GPT once I have created my own content. I treat it like a proof reader, if I like what I get back, I will usually make some final amendments before sending a final version. For clarity, this is me and not the words of AI.

Is there anything employers can do to better support their employees with dyslexia?

Personally, I think employers should do more to harness the strengths of the individuals in their workforce not just people with dyslexia. The more employers can do to understand individuals and their strengths, the more they will get back from them.

How can friends and family best support an adult who has recently been diagnosed with dyslexia?

Treat the person the way you always have however also think about what they will and won’t enjoy doing. They might have certain struggles you personally take for granted. 'Pass the bomb' is a spelling game that often appears over Christmas time at my in-laws. I have never enjoyed the game and maybe I get a little more grace when I say I’d rather give that a miss than I would have got before being officially diagnosed as being dyslexic!



Want to continue the conversation?

Sean has over 20 years of experience in the technology staffing industry, helping organisations to create and build inclusive workforce solutions including:

  • Attract Train and Deploy
  • Talent Pooling
  • MSP
  • RPO
  • SOW
  • Compliance
  • IR35
  • Payrolling
  • Employed Consultants
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