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Microsoft and Wunderman Thompson launch toolkit for people with dyslexia

One in five people in the UK are estimated to have dyslexia, yet the workplace remains largely unaccommodating

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director

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One in five people in the UK are estimated to have dyslexia. 

Yet, the world is not always built for, or accommodating of people with dyslexia; from spelling tests at school, to open plan offices in the workplace the challenge of respecting people with dyslexia as different not defective is ongoing.

Wunderman Thompson and Microsoft have identified that amongst this 20% of the population, many still lack the support they need to excel at school, at work and in life. 

For while the world isn’t built for people with dyslexia; their skills are vital. Cognitive flexibility, creativity, visualisation and complex problem-solving abilities – attributes that are invaluable to workplaces. Businesses, particularly those in the creative industries, should proactively invest in their neurodiverse talent, and technology today means that those with dyslexia can now be as productive as they are communicative and creative.

With this in mind to mark Dyslexia Awareness Week Microsoft is launching a campaign encouraging those with dyslexia to ‘Be You’ which even today, despite growing awareness of neurodiversity, is not easy to do. 

The campaign will include a microsite, social campaign and workshop highlighting inclusive technology. The bespoke microsite will features videos and explanations of  Microsoft’s inclusive tools, delivering demostrations on how technology can do the heavy-lifting in everyday life. The microsite will highlight new ways for those with dyslexia and other neurodiverse abilities to use tools like Immersive Reader, Dictate, PowerPoint Designer, Quicker Starter and Office Lens.

Dyslexia is a mainstream accessibility need

Kelly Monday, Microsoft Consumer Channel Sales Director for UK & Ireland

The move follows the successful launch of pilot workshops such as the Dyslexia Boot Camp for school-age children at Microsoft’s Reading Campus and later at the Microsoft Experience Centre on Regent Street.

Kelly Monday, Microsoft Consumer Channel Sales Director for UK & Ireland, explains: “Dyslexia is a mainstream accessibility need, and  these Microsoft tools could make all the difference to people’s everyday lives, empowering them and changing the perceptions of those who are neurodiverse, helping them focus on their strengths.”

She continues: “As a proud dyslexic myself, I wish I’d had the opportunity to embrace this technology and had access to what’s available today, I struggled at school, lost confidence and had to build a number of coping strategies that would mask my Dyslexia. ‘Covering' was exhausting. Through these workshops, I have seen first-hand the positive impact these tools have, giving kids confidence and creating awareness and helping others with dyslexia has been my main objective. I’m immensely proud of what we’ve been able to achieve through our ongoing work with Wunderman Thompson since 2019.’

San Sharma, Creative Director at Wunderman Thompson added: “’Be You' is all about empowering people to excel, whatever their learning ability. It's an immense privilege to work on a campaign like this that genuinely helps people - and with people that have the lived experience to deliver creative that really resonates.”

The team behind the campaign believe the technology has the opportunity to create change which will last long beyond Dyslexia Awareness Week. As  Jonothan Hunt, Senior Creative Technologist at Wunderman Thompson, explains:  “Microsoft’s inclusive tech makes a huge difference in education and the workplace. Showing these tools to one person can make a huge difference. The chance to bring them to the nation is incredible.”

Related Tags

Inclusion Dyslexia