How to Make Your Company More Neurodiverse Aware

If a company wants to bolster innovation, creativity, and productivity, it must understand and embrace neurodiversity in business. While a lot of people feel they understand neurodiversity, there are various neurotypes that they may have never heard of before. For this reason, it’s essential that companies become more neurodiverse aware and recognise and accommodate various types of neurodiversity. Not only does this approach benefit employees, but it also enriches the overall organisational culture and performance. Discover more about making your company more neurodiverse aware below.

Neurodiversity Awareness Training

Types of neurodivergence (different neurotypes)

Neurotypical is a term frequently used within the context of neurodiversity to describe individuals whose neurological development and patterns of cognition are considered ‘typical’ or within the societal norm.

Neurodivergence refers to the natural variation in the human brain and encompasses a number of cognitive differences. Each has its unique strengths and challenges, which is why it’s important for companies to understand a wide array of neurotypes. Some of the most common types of neurotypes include the following:

  • Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) – Autism is traditionally associated with men, with strengths including fine detail processing and concentration and difficulties in social communications, repetitive behaviours, and sensory sensitivity. Recent research reveals that autism presents differently in men and women. Female strengths include observing and mimicking human interaction and intense feelings of empathy.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – ADHD is characterised by difficulties with attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Strengths include the ability to hyper-focus and creative thinking patterns.
  • Dyslexia – Dyslexia is a specific learning difference characterised by cognitive strengths and abilities in visual thinking, creative thinking, and problem-solving abilities. Challenges might include short-term memory and processing speed. Each person experiences dyslexia differently.
  • Dyspraxia – Dyspraxia, also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), is a learning difference that impacts movement, spatial awareness, balance and coordination in adults and children. Strengths include creative and analytical thinking, empathy, and verbal reasoning.

It’s important to note that those listed above are just a handful of neurodifferences and that neurodiversity encompasses a broad spectrum of experiences and abilities, meaning it presents differently in each individual.

Supporting neurodiversity in the workplace in the UK

In the UK, employers are legally obliged to make reasonable adjustments to support neurodivergent employees under the Equality Act 2010. Despite this, it’s advisable to go beyond legal obligations if an employer wants to create an inclusive environment in which neurodiversity is valued and supported. The following may be implemented to support neurodiversity in the workplace:

  • Raise awareness – Educate employees about neurodiversity and how it can manifest in the workplace via training sessions, workshops, or informational materials.
  • Flexible working arrangements – Remote work, flexible hours, and job sharing are just some of the flexible working arrangements that can be implemented to accommodate the diverse needs of neurodivergent employees. As a result, employees are able to work in environments and schedules that suit their strengths and preferences.
  • Clear communication – Written instructions, visual aids, regular feedback, and other modes of clear and concise information should be provided. You should avoid the use of ambiguous language and not rely solely on verbal communication.
  • Sensory considerations – Reducing distractions, noise-cancelling headphones, adjustable lighting, and designated quiet spaces all work to create a sensory-friendly workplace.
  • Neurodiversity champions – Appoint neurodiversity champions or allies within the company to advocate for inclusive policies, offer support to neurodivergent colleagues, and facilitate open conversations about neurodiversity. An Employee Network is a great place to start!
  • Employee Assistance Programmes – Offer access to Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) or mental health resources to provide support and guidance for neurodivergent employees navigating workplace challenges.
  • Training and development – Provide opportunities for professional development and training tailored to the strengths and interests of neurodivergent employees. Offer mentorship programmes, skills workshops, or strategy coaching to help individuals reach their full potential.

Examples of reasonable adjustments in the workplace

In order to help neurodivergent employees perform their jobs effectively, companies need to make reasonable adjustments. Some of the most common reasonable adjustments include the following:

  1. Flexible working hours – Allow neurodivergent employees to adjust their work schedules to accommodate their peak productivity times.
  2. Quiet workspaces – Provide designated quiet areas or noise-cancelling headphones for employees who are sensitive to auditory stimuli or require a quiet environment to focus.
  3. Visual aids and tools – Use flowcharts, diagrams, colour-coded instructions, and other visual aids to assist employees with dyslexia or ADHD in processing information more effectively.
  4. Job carving – Modify job roles or responsibilities to match the strengths and interests of neurodivergent employees, allowing them to excel in their areas of expertise.
  5. Assistive technology – Text-to-speech software, spell-checkers, ergonomic keyboards, and other assistive technology tools can support individuals with dyslexia, dyspraxia, and other neurodifferences.
  6. Structured feedback – Offer regular and structured feedback sessions that focus on specific areas for improvement and provide clear guidance for neurodivergent employees to enhance their performance.
  7. Social support networks – Peer support groups, mentoring programmes, and buddy systems can all be helpful to neurodivergent employees in connecting with colleagues.

Neurodiversity Awareness Training at neurobox

At neurobox, we’re dedicated to helping managers and teams become more aware of the needs of their employees and colleagues with neurodifferences. Discover more about our Neurodiversity Awareness Training here.

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