neurodivergent at workplace

Flourishing with neurodivergence at workplace

Around 15% to 20% of the population is considered to be neurodivergent. Amongst that approximately 5% to 10% of the global population has dyslexia. Due to difficulties recognising speech sounds and understanding how they relate to letters and words (decoding), people with dyslexia have trouble reading. Dyslexia, sometimes known as a reading disability, is brought on by individual variations in language processing regions of the brain. The World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 160 children have Autism Spectrum Disorder worldwide in 2019. Developmental impairment known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is brought on by variations in the brain. People with ASD may struggle with confined or repetitive behaviours or interests, as well as social communication and engagement. Additionally, people with ASD may learn, move, or pay attention in various ways. Average or above-average IQ scores (IQ > 85) occur in 44% of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

It is very natural that the working force in today’s world would consist of people with neurodivergence. Research shows that conditions such as autism and dyslexia can bestow special skills in pattern recognition, memory, or mathematics. Studies have found that neurodiverse teams are 30% more productive than neurotypical ones and made fewer errors.

However, adults who are neurodivergent experience unemployment rates of at least 30–40%, which is three times higher than that of persons with disabilities and eight times higher than that of those without disabilities. There are few sites that track the details of unemployment among a wide spectrum of neurodiversity, including autism, ADHD, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and many other neurological impairments, thus exact numbers are unknown. Unfortunately, the research necessary to create these figures is frequently lacking. Even with the most conservative projections, millions of neurodiverse persons are unable to secure meaningful employment that enables them to lead free, happy lives. 

Because of a variety of factors, including non-inclusive hiring and retention practises, a lack of employer education and training, the absence of support ecosystems at work, and skill differences or needs that frequently conflict with standard business operations, neurodivergent adults who are eager to work professionally are frequently excluded from the workforce or forced into lower skill jobs.

Thankfully, companies are starting to see the benefits of recruiting neurodiverse people. Their capacity to take a fresh perspective to issues and offer original ideas and solutions adds significant value. Additionally, increasing levels of inclusion and diversity can have a positive impact on the morale of all employees within an organisation. For businesses targeting a neurodiverse workforce, lower attrition, increased productivity, and better overall employee engagement provide a compelling ROI (return on investment) story.

It is obvious that people with neurodiversities would have added needs. There are many ways that employers can accommodate such employees in the workplace such as:

  • Provide them with flexible working hours to help them feel in control and prevent them from feeling overwhelmed.
  • Give short break times throughout the day instead of having a few fixed timings.
  • Use alternative methods of communication like Skype or FaceTime instead of phone calls or meetings in person.
  • Let them work in smaller teams.
  • Provide a quiet work environment for them instead of confining to a particular work desk, etc.
  • Educate your neurotypical employees on how best to communicate and work with their neurodiverse colleagues.
  • Always give clear instructions and refrain from being vague.
  • If an autistic employee makes a social mistake, take them aside privately and directly explain what they did wrong.
  • For tasks with many steps, provide a checklist to them.

Neurodiverse traits and abilities enable workers to contribute a breadth of knowledge to the workplace, making them a priceless asset. These groups can gain from creativity, originality in work, the capacity for lateral thought, consistency in tasks, and the development of highly specific talents. If done correctly, recognising diversity in the workforce can be a huge asset. 

Understanding how employees feel requires gathering helpful input and paying attention to what they have to say. A manager will then have the knowledge and information needed to develop a plan that will bring about change.

Sentier Mind provide student support program to educational enterprises for mental wellness of our young ones and Employee Assistance Program to Workplace. We have a team of Psychologist working with this population for over a decade. We help to provide the care that every individual deserve.

Written by Rima Chowdhury

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