The concept of neurodiversity states there is no one “correct” way of thinking, learning, or acting, and that variations are not seen as deficiencies. People experience and interact with the world around them in a variety of ways.
Although the term “neurodiversity” refers to the diversity of all people, it is frequently used in reference to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other neurological or brain differences like ADHD or learning impairments.
In order to foster greater inclusiveness and acceptance of all people while embracing neurological variations, the neurodiversity movement was born in the 1990s and in recent years has been building momentum, particularly in the workplace.
But what does neurodiversity actually mean? What are the different types of neurodiversity? And how can your company better support them?
As experts in Neurodiversity in the Workplace, we thought we’d offer our input. So we have put together this employer’s guide to types of neurodiversity to help you learn all you need to know.
What is neurodiversity?
According to the concept of neurodiversity, neurological differences are what caused past classifications of mental capacities and disabilities—which severely disadvantaged many different groups of people.
One of the numerous types of diversity is neurodiversity. This shouldn’t result in prejudice and marginalisation, and those who may have conditions such as Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or other learning disabilities and personality disorders shouldn’t be disadvantaged.
Stigma, and other types of exclusion and prejudice, resulted from categorising those distinctions as impairments and illnesses. The overarching plan for inclusivity, and respect of human rights, acknowledges people for their difference, and has created what is now known as the neurodiversity movement.
Who are neurodivergent people?
Neurodivergent people are those who exhibit types of neurodivergence. The variations might be negligible and slight. Their ability to operate as social beings in society is not always impacted by neurodivergence or developmental disorders, and the same goes for work. Neurodivergent people may simply need to be supported and assisted at work so they can work to their full potential.
The term “neurodivergent” was originally used to describe autistic people, but over time it has come to refer to anyone who has specific disorders or mental health conditions that are distinct from what we now refer to as “neurotypical” people.
It covers a wide range of types of neurodiversity that were formerly thought of as mental disorders, impairments, and inadequacies, but are now known to be quite the opposite.
Types of neurodiversity and learning disability
Due to issues recognising spoken sounds and understanding how they relate to letters and words, dyslexia is a learning impairment that makes it difficult to read (decoding). Dyslexia, often known as reading difficulty, affects the parts of the human brain that handle language and processing information.
The most frequent challenge dyslexic people encounter is reading. Specialists have known for some time that adjustments like using alternative typefaces or giving additional time can lessen many of the worst symptoms of this inherited form of neurodiversity.
The majority of people with dyslexia are competent readers and writers; only the teaching strategies need to be adjusted.
Dyscalculia concerns problems grasping mathematical concepts and procedures. One may it will struggle with basic mathematical operations like addition, which could make them struggle with higher mathematics.
The majority of us, however, are aware that nobody’s capacity to have a distinguished career in other fields will be hampered by mathematical challenges.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
We now have the notion of neurodiversity in the battle for better rights and inclusivity for people with autism. With the success of activists, the spectrum could be widened, and now the neurodivergent are benefitting from inclusion and de-stigmatization.
The fight for recognition was finally won by emphasising that autism is nothing more than variations in the spectrum across many brain functions and that deficiencies in communication and other behaviours may be overcome with inclusive practices.
There is a stigma attached to individuals on the autism spectrum that they lack the social skills to thrive in a workplace environment compared to non autistic people. In fact, research shows that a person with autism can be significantly more productive than the average worker as well as being highly intelligent, they may just work differently to others.
Because verbal or physical tics, and repetitive behaviours, are among the more obvious signs of the disorder, it is relatively well known. These tics can be treated, and there are ways to regulate them, but even with intervention, it can be challenging to control them under pressure.
However, it’s interesting to note that the need to regulate these tics can enhance cognitive control, at least when performing specific tasks. Individuals with Tourette’s who regularly exercise self control may have an advantage while performing tasks that call for sustained effort, focus, or concentration.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
People with this disorder have trouble focusing, paying attention, and maintaining control over their behaviours and emotions. They struggle with staying organised. They are lively and entertaining, though, and therapists typically employ these traits to work with them and help them become fully functional people.
Neurodiversity movement and mental illness support in the workplace
People with neurodevelopmental disabilities may be excluded due to stigma, a lack of understanding, and inadequate infrastructure (such as office layout or personnel structures). It can be easier to be inclusive of everyone if communities, schools, companies, and healthcare facilities recognise and value neurodiversity.
We must all work to create a culture that values all types of neurodiversity and acknowledge and celebrate the unique skills and abilities that each person possesses while also supporting their differences and needs.
So whether your employees need support with mental ill-health such as obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder or depression, or neurodiversities like those mentioned above, you need to offer your support as an employer.
Why employers should utilise Neurodiversity training
Anybody who is interested in learning more about disability and neurodiversity will benefit from workplace neurodiversity training. If you have a leadership position in D&I, hiring, or HR, it is very important to you, your team and social justice within the workplace.
Our course on neurodiversity covers a wide range of knowledge about this topic and is filled with useful tips and tools to help you make sure that everyone in your organisation is welcome, regardless of their neurodiversity. It incorporates the following:
- Disputes false beliefs and myths regarding neurodiversity;
- Explains common types of neurodiversity to help you better appreciate what is meant by neurodiversity.
- Creates a culture that promotes thinking differently and identifies the policies and practises that enable a neurodivergent person to thrive at work;
- Shows how a workplace that is neurodiversity inclusive can be achieved by making changes to working practices, the physical environment, technology, communication and overall neurodiversity education.
Looking for a training programme which embraces neurodiversity and neurological differences?
Thriiver specialises in offering businesses excellent training on neurodiversity.
Our knowledgeable team can assist with educating your employees on a range of subjects, from comprehending how best to support neurodivergent individuals to how to spot certain neurological conditions and medical conditions.
Because we’re aware that every organisation is unique, we provide bespoke training packages that are created just for your company. We’ve got you covered with a variety of additional training programmes and services, such as Mental Health at Work Training and Disability Awareness Training, as well as a number of assistive devices that can help employees with impairments.