It is estimated that 15% of the UK population are neurodiverse. Many workplaces will already be accommodating neurodiverse employees but without the proper awareness and understanding of how best to support these employees
With Learning Disability Week taking place this month we have taken the opportunity to explore neurodiversity in the workplace and what employers should be doing. As a starting point, it is worth noting that ACAS has produced some very helpful guidance for employers, managers and employees.
What is neurodiversity?
Put concisely, people think differently. Neurodiversity is the way the brain processes and interprets information. One in seven people are neurodivergent, meaning that their brain processes information differently to most. Neurodivergence is experienced along a spectrum and has a range of characteristics which vary depending on the individual. There are various forms of neurodivergence but the most common are autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD. While there tend to be certain expectations about the effects of each of these, they all cover a wide range of differences. Click here to read the rest of the story.
Published by: Real Business Company
Written by: Annie May Noonan
he fact that a dyspraxia sufferer isn’t easy to define makes the job of being understood and supported difficult for those with the condition – and I would know.
I was diagnosed with dyspraxia and dyscalculia at the age of eight after my physical balance and concentration levels suddenly, and very rapidly, deteriorated.
From the outside, I made the transition from my junior to ‘senior’ school as an atypical student, able to play sport and complete both writing tasks and times-tables well. My inability to dress or pack my school bag myself didn’t seem like a big issue until I suddenly could no longer retain my balance and started walking into doors, and falling down flights of stairs. I also developed problems writing and was unable to sit on a chair properly.
After my dual diagnosis, my frustrations around the difficulties I was experiencing lessened. I felt a sense of calm and clarity in the fact I had a condition, and could now learn strategies to make living with it less stressful. After seeing an occupational therapist for a year, I was able to manage my condition, however, my dyspraxia hasn’t gone away. Click here to read the rest of the story/
Some might be surprised to learn that there are several types of learning disabilities. Dysgraphia is describes as a learning disability that affects writing, spelling and fine motor skills. Dysgraphia is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can occur as a stand alone disorder or part of a co-occurring disorder with other disabilities such as ADHD, Autism, and Dyslexia. Typically it is diagnosed or discovered in the early years when children are beginning to learn how to write. Most adults often remain undiagnosed.
Early Signs of Dysgraphia
Signs and symptoms of dysgraphia generally begin to show up when children began to lean how to write. Early signs of Dysgraphia include:
Inconsistent spacing between letters
Poor spatial planning
Unable to read own handwriting
Poor fine motor skills
Pain in hand from writing
Messy unorganized papers
Difficulty organizing thoughts on paper
Illegible printing and cursive letter formation
Tight, cramped pencil grip
Tires quickly when writing
mixes upper and lower case or irregular sizes and shapes of letters.
A early signs that rarely disappears is having a “sloppy” handwriting. The person when writing leaves out letters at the end of a sentence, difficulty reading own handwriting after meetings, trouble with filling out routine forms, displays unorganized papers on the desk, difficulty thinking and writing at the same time and tends to mixes upper and lower case letters when writing. The person will also avoid writing when possible and show a preference to using a computer or texting neatness, line spacing, staying inside margins and capitalization rules.
Strategies to Use in the Workplace
If you have a smart phone, you can use the device to record meetings, interviews or instructions that are given to you.
Assitive technology such as tablets, computers and Apps are also useful in transcribing information
Take the time to organize your desk before you leave work in the evening. Prioritize your workflow and create a plan for the next day.
Pre-write. Before you take on the task of writing, create an outline on paper.
For a significant minority, including those with ADHD, autism and dyslexia, background noise and bright lighting in the workplace is a problem. But there are ways to improve the working environment
Maybe it’s a colleague’s booming voice, a garish, ill-chosen mural or the persistent pong of garlic from the canteen, but every workplace has its irritating quirks.
While most people can ignore such annoyances, for a significant minority it is impossible and keeping them out of work.
Background noise is commonly a problem for people with dyslexia, ADHD and autism – so-called neurodivergent conditions – while bright lighting can also be a source of stress that can be particularly acute for some people. Click here to read the rest of the story.
Luke is one of 500,000 US teens that are anticipated to ride the crest of a wave of people with autism exiting the public school system within the next 10 years, a tsunami that society and employers alike are not ready for. According to the AFAA, or Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism, just over 50 percent of young adults on the autism spectrum worked for pay eight years after they finished high school. Ninety percent of adults with autism are either unemployed, or under-employed, and under 16 percent have full-time jobs.
Luke’s main issue is an inability to express himself verbally. That, coupled with limited social skills, got an “autism” label smacked on him, where he has joined company with 1.5 million other Americans. Click here to read the rest of the story.