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May 23, 2024

Understanding & Supporting Neurodiversity In The Professional Sphere

Neurodiversity

Understanding Neurodiversity
Neurodiversity celebrates the natural variation in human neurocognitive functioning. This concept emphasizes that individuals experience and interact with the world in diverse ways, with no single “right” way of thinking, learning, or behaving. Traditional societal systems often label traits outside the norm as atypical, but the neurodiversity movement challenges this mindset. It champions the recognition and respect of neurological differences, urging society to adapt and meet the needs of neurodivergent individuals.

It is important to note that approximately 15-20% of the world’s population is neurodivergent. Neurodiversity encompasses a range of conditions, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, and dyscalculia. By understanding these conditions and recognizing the unique strengths and challenges they bring, we can foster a more inclusive environment.

Experiencing Neurodiversity
Autism, ADHD, and other neurodivergent conditions manifest in various ways:

  • Autism: Challenges in communication, forming relationships, and understanding abstract concepts, along with strengths like focus, attention to detail, and problem-solving.
  • ADHD: Characterized by traits such as impulsivity, hyperactivity, and difficulty maintaining attention, often associated with creativity and high energy.
  • Dyslexia: Impacts reading accuracy and fluency, comprehension, spelling, and writing.
  • Dyspraxia: Affects movement and coordination, impacting tasks requiring balance and fine motor skills.
  • Dyscalculia: Impairs the ability to acquire mathematical skills, affecting numerical understanding and calculations.

Inclusive Language Around Neurodiversity

Using accurate and inclusive language is crucial in reducing stigma and promoting understanding. Identity-first language (ex “autistic person”) is often preferred, but it’s essential to ask individuals how they prefer to be addressed. Avoid terms like “high functioning” or “Asperger’s,” which are outdated and can be hurtful as well as harmful.

Accommodations In The Workplace

Creating a supportive environment for neurodiverse employees involves making reasonable adjustments that allow them to thrive. 


Companies should consider: 

  • Sensory Needs: Provide quiet spaces, noise-canceling headphones, flexible seating, and a fragrance-free environment.
  • Communication: Use clear, concise language, break tasks into smaller steps, and offer multiple ways to relay information.
  • Flexibility: Offer varied tasks, advanced notice of changes, and flexible work schedules, promoting a healthy work-life integration.
  • Bias Awareness: Challenge assumptions and advocate for inclusive hiring practices.

Companies that embrace neurodiversity can see a 30% increase in productivity by leveraging the unique strengths of neurodivergent employees. Additionally, companies that create inclusive workplaces have 22% lower turnover rates, benefiting both employees and employers .

Self-Advocacy For Neurodivergent Individuals

Encourage neurodivergent individuals to identify and communicate their specific needs clearly. By sharing their communication preferences and joining diversity committees found within ERG groups, they can help build a more supportive workplace culture.

Conclusion

By understanding and embracing neurodiversity, companies can create more inclusive and productive environments. TaskHuman partners with organizations to learn their unique organizational needs and helps educate teams, support neurodivergence, and improve engagement and retention. With TaskHuman employees receive personalized 1:1 coaching, group coaching sessions, and content coaching on respecting and supporting neurodiversity at the workplace. Learn how we can support your organization. Together, we will build workplaces where everyone thrives.

 

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