Mar 15, 2023 | Neurodiversity

diverse people celebrating

Neurodiversity: Celebration Week

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We believe that focusing on a person’s ability rather than their disability is of utmost importance. Each of us is different, and it is key to focus on what makes us unique in a positive way, and how can we better understand those who have differences.   

What is Neurodiversity?  

The term “neurodiversity” was first used by sociologist, Judy Singer, in the 1990s. Singer, who is on the Autism Spectrum, has since become a pioneer in the world of neurodiversity. Those who are neurodivergent have certain development disorders, which are normal variations in the brain, and often have certain strengths, talents, and abilities.  

“The Neurodiversity Movement has become a powerful minority-rights campaign, inspiring the world’s largest companies to radically shift their hiring and talent management practices. A thriving cottage industry has developed to advise employers through consultancy and professional services.” – Forbes  

It is important to note that neurodiversity is not the same thing as disability. Neurodiversity commonly includes people who have:  

  • ADHD  
  • Autism spectrum disorder  
  • Dyslexia  
  • Dyspraxia  
  • Other learning disabilities  

What is Neurodiversity Celebration Week?  

The week of March 13-19 is Neurodiversity Celebration Week. The week is celebrated nationally and, the Neurodiversity Celebration Week website states that its goal is to: “transform how neurodivergent individuals are perceived and supported by providing schools, universities, and organisations with the opportunity to recognise the many talents and advantages of being neurodivergent, while creating more inclusive and equitable cultures that celebrate differences and empower every individual.”   

How can we support those who are neurodiverse?  

Acceptance, understanding, and patience is a good place to start. There are often preconceived notions, or stereotypes associated with certain disorders, most of which are untrue, discriminatory, and hurtful. There are many ways in which employers can support those who are neurodiverse. We believe that support and education are key to ensuring every person feels included, and accommodated for in the workplace.   

Here are a few things to consider:  

Change your hiring techniques: when hiring, be inclusive with your language and encourage neurodivergent people to apply for the position. Remember that, while the interview process may look different, that doesn’t mean they won’t be a good fit for the job.  

Make accommodations: Depending on the disorder, those who are neurodivergent may require certain accommodations that help them thrive in the workplace. Whether it’s the need to take more frequent breaks, or a quiet and dimly lit space, providing appropriate support will benefit both you and your employee.   

Use inclusive language: While this is important in the workplace, this should always be the standard. Ensure your company reflects an inclusive workplace, where people feel safe and included, no matter their situation. Language is a powerful tool, and the words we use can be incredibly impactful.  

Communicate: Communication with a neurodivergent employee is key, as with most employees! As we mentioned, neurodivergent individuals will succeed when they are heard, and provided what they need. Therefore, effective communication between you, as well as with other employees, will help to ensure everyone understands what is expected, allow for productive conversations, and help with overall productivity. 

We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to do something they love and enjoy! Neurodiversity is something that should be celebrated, not just this week, each and every week.

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