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Kian – Working for
HMRC with dyslexia

Kian is neurodivergent and has been working at HMRC for 3 years. He explains what it is like living with dyslexia and how HMRC and his manager support him.

picture of Kian smiling at the camera with a computer screen behind him

My story

Dyslexia is a lifelong condition that is more than just bad speling (yes, I intentionally did that and missed the extra letter l). Sometimes I struggle, I often mask (if you can) the fact I have dyslexia (and other traits but let’s keep with dyslexia). One the biggest struggles I have is with my memory. If someone tells me something, I might go off on a tangent and try and fill in the gaps and then forget half of what has been said. It’s probably a good job I work with numbers more than letters although managing a team at HMRC is the bigger challenge. My wife has tolerated my moments going off on a tangent and so have my team, so thank you.

HMRC is certainly a great place to work (most of the time) – and working together as a team is important to me so you can share experiences, learning and support each other. I feel privileged in lots of ways to work here as support is available if you need it to help you with your work. I have developed my own strategies to help me manage my dyslexia. For example, I use a computer more than I use a notepad and confidently say “can you repeat that again” to colleagues. Dragon software can help to read back text, which can be useful, and your manager can support you to get specific software you may need. I find typing helpful because I can use simple spell checks and grammar checks as well as using Artificial Intelligence tools – it’s been a game changer for me.   

When I started at HMRC, I was informed right away that there was dyslexia support if I needed it from HR. I manage a team of 14 people and I can relate with some of the team and their struggles about being different or not understanding why things happen in a particular way. The biggest tip for everyone is to keep your eyes peeled (maybe not literally!) there is support everywhere, it is just a case of finding it.  

You can choose what support is right for you. The HMRC neurodiverse support group can be very helpful, sometimes less so. What I am trying to say is you can take the bits that are useful and leave the bits that are not. Overall, its highly recommended! I also highly recommend the listening circles. During a recent session on Neurodiversity, one of the speakers shared his experience of dyslexia and ADHD and the need to read over the same lines again and again and check, check, check! I often say “you only know your mind” – in other words you only know you, no one knows how you’re feeling.   

Last year, I attended a career development course. It was tailored for people with a disability (I do still sigh when I mention a disability but I do embrace it. I still don’t like to tick the box – yes, I consider myself to have a disability but the fact is I do). The course talks about the support community groups available via SharePoint and the Intranet. The Northeast Regional SharePoint is especially useful – though I stress it is not for someone with a disability – it’s for all. It is accessible to everyone even though I still believe we are all neurodiverse…never mind the neuro typical! We are all typical in the way our brains are wired and respond to information and learning. 

As someone working at HMRC who is neurodivergent, I find some days are plain sailing and sometimes even the basic tasks can be a little time consuming. So let’s celebrate our differences, and when someone makes a mistake or asks the question that they might have been reluctant to share, embrace the diversity – whoever you are and whatever you want to be, grab the opportunity! 

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