Managing Dyslexia at Work as An Expat 

November 2023
For expats dealing with dyslexia, adapting to a new job in a foreign country can be especially challenging. Language barriers and cultural differences may exacerbate these difficulties. However, by having the right resources and support in place, expats with dyslexia can still thrive in their professional lives. Our Guide covers Simple and effective ways to help expats with dyslexia manage their challenges in the workplace.
Dyslexia is a hidden disability that affects reading, writing, and spelling skills where individuals tend to solely rely on the right side of their brain for language processing. People can suffer from mild to severe forms of dyslexia. It can have a significant impact on expats in the workplace. It is estimated that 1 out of 10 people have dyslexia worldwide. If you are facing challenges at work, there is a strong chance you are not alone. 
Dyslexics may have difficulties with reading and writing, but they also tend to have high levels of intelligence and the ability to think strategically. Dyslexic thinking is known to solve complex problems and see patterns that is often missed by others. These creative processing skills allow dyslexics to see the bigger picture, and visualise new solutions. This skill is really valuable to employees, in fact, 50% of NASA employees are dyslexic. They are deliberately hired because of their excellent critical thinking skills and spatial awareness. Learning how to craft and build on your strengths will allow you to succeed professionally. 

If you’re working on a computer make use of the advanced technology available that can help make your day job a lot easier. Some of the most helpful programs for individuals managing dyslexia at work are:

  • Text-to-speech software, can help process and review text, by simply reading your emails, and work back to you.
  • Mind mapping software is designed to help those with dyslexia plan their work more effectively.
  • Spell-checking software, is designed to autocorrect spelling errors commonly made by dyslexics.
  • Voice recognition software is also a great option for those who are stronger at verbal communication than written.
  • Smartpens are used to track text that is being written by hand and then formatted digitally.• 
  • Apps for phones and tablets, there are also plenty of apps available that offer dictation, mind mapping, text-to-speech software and more that can help you speed up productivity and reduce errors in your work. 


If you’re taking on an international assignment and you feel your language or typing skills are holding you back. Try spending some time building up your skills with the Touch-type Read and Spell course. This type of course uses a multi-sensory approach to repetition learning, particularly effective for dyslexics dealing with short-term memory issues. 
As an expat picking up some of the local language can really help you settle in. But learning a new language can be very challenging for those with dyslexia, it's very easy to become discouraged and not even try. However new studies have found that the Orton-Gillingham Approach can be effective for reading and writing when it doesn’t come as easily. There are plenty of new learning methods out there that can be adapted to your abilities. 
Most workplaces will have systems and regulations in place to help protect people with learning difficulties. Disclosing your dyslexia with your employers is a big decision. Legally you are not required to inform them if you aren’t comfortable doing so. But if you are struggling with your workload and could benefit from additional support then maybe it's time to have an open conversation with your manager.
Facing day-to-day challenges at work caused by dyslexia can have a significant toll on your self-esteem. Causing you to lose confidence and trust in your work. Try to focus on the positive effects of your work and what your strengths bring to the team. 
There is no shame in looking for help when you’re dealing with some challenging mental health issues. Make time to support your mental health. Expats who have international health insurance with Allianz Partners will have access to our Expat Assistance Programme that offers 24/7 confidential professional counselling - available face-to-face or via phone, video, email and online chat.