Nurturing Neurodiversity in the Workplace

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This week marks Neurodiversity Celebration Week, an annual worldwide event dedicated to recognising neurodiversity and promoting acceptance, equality, and inclusion for neurodivergent individuals in the workplace and beyond.

What is Neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity is a term used to describe the many ways in which people think, experience, and interact with the world around them. It acknowledges the neurological and cognitive differences throughout the population.

This spectrum of neurodiversity is split into two different categories, neurotypical and neurodivergent, with the latter term being used to refer to individuals whose brains function in some ways that are not considered to be “typical” in comparison to much of the population.

“Neurodivergent” is not a medical diagnosis, however, it is often used when referring to a number of different conditions including Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Dyspraxia, among others. Two individuals with the same condition may, however, have entirely different experiences with the condition, requiring different levels of support, if any at all.

Inclusivity in the Workplace

Due to stigma, not all neurodivergent individuals in the workforce are comfortable disclosing this to their employer, however the lack of disclosure can be a barrier to providing support.

A study by Birkbeck’s Research Centre for Neurodiversity at Work completed in 2023 found that 65% of neurodivergent employees feared discrimination from management. In the same study 65% of the managers asked reported not knowing enough to make reasonable adjustments for neurodivergent staff, largely due to individuals being unwilling to disclose their condition or struggles at work.

It’s estimated that around 20% of the UK population is neurodivergent and so the chances are that you will, or do already, employ a neurodivergent person who may require additional support or adjustments. Failure to provide these adjustments can lead to poor work output, long-term sickness absences, and in some cases, discrimination claims, each of which come with their own cost, admin and time to manage and resolve.

It is important that managers understand how to support neurodivergent employees when issues arise however, creating a work environment that encourages and promotes neurodiversity in the first place is evidently the key to minimising these issues in the first place. So, if neurodiversity isn’t already on your business agenda, it likely ought to be.

Next Steps

Howarths are running a free Employment Law webinar on ‘Inclusivity in the Workplace- How to support Neurodiversity.’
The webinar will cover:

·        Creating and encouraging an inclusive working environment.

·        How to make the recruitment process more accessible.

·        Supporting and managing neurodivergent staff.

·        Reasonable adjustments.

·        Policies and procedures.

Date: Wednesday 1st May 11 am – 11.45 am delivered by Howarths Senior Employment Law Solicitor, Sarah Edwards.

If you would like to attend this webinar please click the link Enter Booking Details – Calendly

We look forward to continuing the conversation on neurodiversity with you on the 1st May. If you need any further support on this topic please contact your Howarths Employment Law Advisor on 01274 864 999.


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