It is estimated that around 1 in 7 people, or 15% of the UK population, are neurodivergent. So, it is highly likely that you have some friends, family or work colleagues who have neurodivergences.
What is Neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity is the different ways the brain can process, work and interpret information. Being neurodiverse does not mean that you are less intelligent than others. It means that you see the world differently and process information differently.
What conditions come under the neurodiversity umbrella?
Autism is a lifelong condition which affects how someone relates and communicates with others and the world around them. There are a number of ways people with autism can be affected. These include social skills, speech and nonverbal communication.
People with Autism often have problems with social and emotional skills. They may have different ways of learning, paying attention or reacting to things. They may experience sensory issues, repeat behaviours and dislike change in their daily lives.
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) has three main features:
People with ADHD can have considerable strengths, such as increased creativity, imagination and problem-solving.
Dyslexia is a learning difficulty which mainly affects reading and writing skills. People can have problems with processing and remembering. About 10% of the population are believed to have it.
Dyslexia can affect someone’s coordination, organisation and memory and not just that, it affects someone’s ability to read and write.
Some of the common signs could be spelling erratically, needing to re-read paragraphs to understand them, having difficulty telling left from right, reading/writing slowly and many more.
Dyscalculia is a specific and persistent difficulty in understanding numbers. About 6% of people have it, it is at the severe end of the maths learning difficulties.
Dyspraxia is a common disorder affecting fine and/or motor coordination. The difficulties experienced by individuals can vary and may change over time depending upon the environment and life experiences.
The difficulties experienced may impact everyday life skills in education and work. Children may present with difficulties with writing, typing, and riding a bike, which can continue into the workplace and could affect activities such as driving a car.
What can employers do to help neurodivergent employees?
Being a neurodiverse-aware employer starts before the recruitment process, ensuring that your recruitment process, the job advert and how to apply for the role take into account neurodivergent employees.
Make your job adverts short and concise with bullet points with clear and easy-to-understand requirements and language. Ensure you provide clear information on what will happen during the interview/recruitment process. Giving directions and a timetable for how the process will run.
If a member of staff communicates with you that they have a neurodivergent condition, then you will be required to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010. If they have had a formal assessment, they may already know what they need to be in place to help them do their job, such as dictation software to write emails or complete work tasks.
If they haven’t been assessed and given a diagnosis as an employer, you can get a functional assessment. A full diagnostic assessment isn’t always required if you need to know how to assist them in the workplace with adjustments.
If you suspect that a member of your team may have a neurodivergent condition, talk to them and ask if they need any support or adjustments.
At Occupational Health Consultancy, we work with a partner organisation to offer diagnostic assessments and functional assessments to assist employers in managing their staff in the workplace to make life easier and better for neurodivergent employees.
Please get in touch if you would like to know more.