Neurodiversity In the Workplace

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Written by Mary Asante

Last updated: 25/03/2022

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Embracing neurodiversity in the workplace is a part of diversity and inclusion. Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace is about accepting and celebrating our differences. What makes each individual unique and special.

Neurodiversity is the differences in the human brain, it is how our brains function and associated behaviour traits, a natural variation in the human genome.

Celebrating Neurodiversity in the Workplace

Celebrating neurodiversity is about recognising the strengths and talents of neurodivergent people. This includes people with Autism and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). It also includes people with:

  • Dyslexia;
  • Dyspraxia;
  • Dyscalculia; and
  • Dysgraphia.

Neurodiverse individuals are creative and innovative. Thus, tapping into their talent can give your organisation a competitive advantage.

Strengths and Talent

Autism

  • average to high intelligence
  • good verbal skills, rich vocabulary
  • ability to think in visual images and identify patterns
  • propensity to think outside the box and generate novel solutions to problems
  • ability to absorb and keep large amounts of information. This is especially so when the topic is of special interest
  • meticulous
  • ability to focus for lengthy periods on areas of interest
  • ability to perform repetitive tasks. A key strength where accuracy, rules and routine are important
  • reliability and punctuality
  • honest, loyal and fair
  • non-judgemental listening

Dyslexia

  • improved visual processing and pattern recognition
  • good spacial knowledge
  • seeing the bigger picture
  • mechanical aptitude
  • picture thinkers
  • sharper peripheral vision
  • creative
  • creativity and entrepreneurial proclivities
neurodiverse-individual

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

  • hyper-focused
  • higher levels of creativity and curiosity,
  • innovation and inventiveness
  • leadership abilities
  • high energy, spontaneity and productivity

Dyspraxia

  • creativity and original thinking
  • good strategic thinking and problem-solving
  • determination and diligent
  • motivated
  • able to develop their strategies to overcome difficulties

Dyscalculia

  • creativity
  • strategic and intuitive thinking
  • practical ability
  • problem-solving
  • love of words

Dysgraphia

  • good verbal reasoning

Seven Tips for Embracing Neurodiversity in the Workplace

  1. Leaders must be aware and encourage awareness of neurodiversity in the work environment.
  2. Create an inclusive workplace environment that celebrates the strengths of neurodiverse individuals.
  3. Recognise specific challenges an individual may face.
  4. Set up a support ecosystem, providing a network of support for the individuals including mentors, coaches and buddies.
  5. Adapt the working environment to make it more suitable for neurodivergent individuals. For example, allowing the individual to use noise cancellation headphones in an open office.
  6. Training and awareness for managers and employees.
  7. Better work-life balance, with more flexibility in the working pattern.

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