Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2024

It is neurodiversity celebration week 18 – 24 March

Neurodiversity refers to the natural range of differences in human brain function. We all think, move, process information and communicate in different ways.

Many people use neurodiversity as an all encompassing term used to describe alternative thinking styles such as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Autism and ADHD. Irrespective of labels, neurodiversity is about recognising those who think and respond to certain situations differently.

It’s estimated that around 15% of people in the UK are neurodiverse, however workplaces are still largely designed with neurotypical people in mind and many employers remain unclear on how to support neurodiverse colleagues with some of the challenges they may face.

There are various things employers may wish to consider in championing inclusivity for and supporting neurodiverse job applicants and staff, including:

  • Review job adverts to ensure that they are not lengthy or difficult to read.
  • Provide clear detail for applicants about what to expect at the interview / assessment stage, including things like directions to the interview location and names of the hiring managers who will be interviewing them. This kind of pre-planning is just one change that employers can make to enable neurodiverse candidates to perform at their best.
  • Consider the interview process – this has historically relied heavily on social cues such as body language, eye contact and communication skills, which some neurodiverse people struggle with. However, during the interview itself, interviewers should focus on the specific skills needed for the job. In this case, it is best practice to allow neurodiverse candidates to see questions in advance of the interview.
  • Listen and work to understand the impact of their neurodiversity on them and their assigned duties at work.
  • Consider discussing with employees what the key issues or pressure points are and what steps the employer can take to mitigate the impact of these on the employee.
  • In cases which are more complex or where the employer suspects the employee may have a disability within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010, the Employer should consider a referral to Occupational Health or taking other specialist advice on what reasonable adjustments can be made and what can be done to make the employment relationship work and help the employee to thrive at work.
  • Aim to be clear and concise in communications, both written and oral. Recorded instructions may be helpful, or ‘easy read’ manuals.
  • Keep an open mind and avoid making assumptions – the personalities and working preferences of neurodiverse people can be very different, even when they have the same underlying condition.

If you have any queries regarding neurodiversity in the workplace, please get in contact with Melanie Morton.

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The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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