There’s no better time to evaluate your company’s mental health and wellness approach. Having neurodiversity at the workplace plays a crucial role in determining the health of the company. However, the term “neurodiverse” isn’t new and certainly isn’t rare. The question that arises here is; what is neurodiversity? This blog will cover everything you need to know about neurodiversity and how to build a Neurodiversity Positive Workplace.

What is Neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity is the experiences and interaction of people with the world in many different ways, and it refers to the diversity of all people. It is often used as an umbrella term covering several neurological and developmental conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other learning disabilities.

Neurodiverse individuals have intellectual, developmental, or learning disorders, making it difficult to express and adjust socially. According to Judy Singer (an Australian sociologist), many neurological differences are due to societal barriers rather than being inherently pathological.

Who is Included?

Most of these are considered “spectrum” divergences, i.e., each has a wide range of characteristics. One can have more than one kind of neurodivergence at the same time also. They are:

1. AUTISM is a spectrum disorder where people are impaired in social communication and often do not understand social cues. They are generally unwilling to settle in the changing environment. It affects them to communicate and relate to others. It may be unable to hold or initiate a conversation, have poor eye contact, lack social cues such as smiling and responding, or use repetitive language.

Sensory processing is the core feature of autism. It is difficult for someone on the autism spectrum and living with sensory processing to function effectively within a particular environment. Since each individual has a unique sensory profile, the most effective treatment and coping strategies seek to maximize their participation in everyday life by accommodating their sensory differences and enabling self-regulation by the individual.

The most common type of sensory processing in autism that is observed and studied are challenges with sensory modulation, where the responses to sensory stimuli make it difficult for the individual to function effectively within a particular environment. Treatment methods for Sensory processing in autism go hand in hand. For the best outcome, One should treat SPD and autism simultaneously through a comprehensive treatment plan where the entire intervention team targets symptoms of both disorders.

2. ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder impacts attention, concentration and impulses of the individuals. It often makes them feel isolated. Their attention span is also very short.

3. DYSLEXIA is related to language processing. People with dyslexia can have issues with reading, writing and spelling, understanding information, writing in an organized manner and even memory retention. Their spoken language skills are inadequate.

4. Tourette’s Syndrome affects movement and sound, causing repetitive movements or sounds you can’t easily control. Examples are shrugging your shoulders, making clicking sounds, and blinking your eyes many times.

5. DYSPRAXIA affects the organization and coordination of Neurodiversity at work. These people face difficulty in muscular coordination; hence, they can be seen as clumsy. Anything involving sequencing, timekeeping, and structuring will be highly trying for them.

Now let us discuss how to build an environment promoting neurodiversity at work :

a) Neurodiversity in Entrepreneurship
Providing programs and materials helps employees harness the diversity of thought in intrapreneurship programs and also supports neurodivergent individuals navigate the entrepreneurial journey.
Example: Ford was founded by Henry Ford, founder of Ford was dyslexic! Interestingly, dyslexia has been associated with entrepreneurship and big-picture thinking.

b) Neurodiversity in Music
We have seen plenty of neurodiverse people within the music industry, so it’s essential to see how they’re killing it in their careers and how these creative differences should be celebrated. One of the best ways to welcome neurodiversity in the music industry is to understand its concept. For years, the focus was solely on ADHD, which is still one of the most common conditions under the neurodiverse umbrella.
Example: American singer-songwriter Billie Eilish who has won 10 Grammy awards by 2021, has Tourette’s Syndrome.

c) Neurodiversity in Art
The role of art within neurodiversity is evident in art education, as art encourages them to look at or interpret the world differently. Art subjects inspire abstract and unconventional thought processes and welcome divergent neurodiverse people. Neurodiversity in art education indicates that art subjects have a higher impact on dyslexic students. It is essential to recognize and learn about different types of intelligence and consider the strengths and talents of neurodiversity at work. The art environment encourages neurodivergent people the skills and the abilities to progress in their personal and professional development in creative design practice.
Example: Stephen Wiltshire is a famous artist known for his sketches of cities and landscapes after just seeing them once. He was diagnosed with autism at a young age and was mute.

d) People with ASD can do all jobs, including sales assistants, computer programmers, graphic designers or statisticians. Employees with ASD can be some of the most reliable, conscientious, and valued workers in an organization.

So these were the four ways to Build a Neurodiversity Positive Workplace. Let us now understand why it is vital to embrace neurodiversity at work. When an organization hires neurodiversity, they gain competitive advantages such as productivity, innovation, culture and talent retention. People with an autistic spectrum have a variety of exceptional skills. While people with dyslexia tend to think outside the box and are more likely to produce innovative and creative ideas

Each individual with a neurodivergent condition needs to be handled with a proper diagnosis and management techniques. A systematic and continuous approach to getting feedback from the employees’ experience can help create a roadmap for positive change. Brainpreneurs is a kind of inclusive platform which brings education and healthcare together while focusing on holistic development.

We believe in growing together and providing consultation services under all three verticals: CDC, Experiential learning centre, and Mental health & wellbeing. Brainpreneurs deliver these services to educational institutes and corporations. We are keen to raise the bar by focussing on collaborations to pave the way for a progressive change.

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