Open Access Research article

Factors influencing work participation of adults with developmental dyslexia: a systematic review

Joost de Beer1*, Josephine Engels1, Yvonne Heerkens1 and Jac van der Klink2

Author Affiliations

1 Department Occupation & Health, HAN University of Applied Sciences, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

2 Department of Health Sciences/Community and Occupational Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:77  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-77

Published: 24 January 2014

Abstract

Background

Evidence has been synthesized to determine hindering and facilitating factors associated with the work participation of adults with developmental dyslexia (DD), classified according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).

Methods

A systematic literature review has been performed. Two search strings were used to determine the population and the context of work. The ICF was expanded with two subdivisions: one that made the environmental factors more work-related and a subdivision of personal factors. For data extraction the method known as qualitative metasummary was used and the manifest frequency effect size (MFES) for each category in the ICF was calculated.

Results

From 33 included studies 318 factors have been extracted and classified in the ICF. In the classification the frequency of occurrences and the consistency in direction (i.e., hindering or facilitating) have been made visible. The ICF categories with the highest MFES were mental functions with factors like feelings and emotions about dyslexia; activities like reading or writing/spelling; participation with factors like acquiring and keeping a job; social relationships at work where the attitudes and support of the employer and co-workers are important; working conditions with factors like the availability of assistive technology and accommodations on the job; and personal factors like self-disclosure and coping strategies.

Conclusions

In the context of work DD affects nearly all domains of functioning, mostly in a negative way. Within each domain the impact of DD increases over the course of life. To overcome that negative influence, many forms of adaptation, compensation, or coping are mentioned. Also notable is the lack of positive attitudes toward DD of the participants with DD—with the exception of the attitudes of teachers with DD—as well as on the part of colleagues, supervisors, and employers.

Keywords:
Adult; ICF; Developmental dyslexia; Work participation