Understanding Neurodiversity: How to Support a Neurodiverse Workforce

The neurodiversity movement began in the 1990s with the aim of increasing acceptance and inclusion of all people, while also celebrating neurological differences. Through online platforms, more and more autistic individuals were able to connect and form a self-defense movement. The term “neurodivergent” is used to describe people whose brain differences affect how their brain works, resulting in different strengths and challenges than those without these differences. Possible differences include medical disorders, learning problems, and other conditions.

Strengths may include better memory, the ability to mentally visualize three-dimensional (3D) objects with ease, the ability to solve complex mathematical calculations mentally, and many more. People with neurodivergent diseases are often at greater risk of mental illness or well-being issues due to a lack of support and the stress of “masking” neurotypical performance to avoid negativity. For the past two years, the Hewlett Packard Enterprise neurodiversity program has assigned more than 30 participants software testing roles in the Australian Department of Human Services (DHS). The concept of neurodiversity was first established by Australian sociologist Judy Singer.

For instance, people with autism who are neurodivergent can be extremely thorough, while those with dyspraxia tend to have great creativity. Experts' research also shows that words and language related to neurodiversity make a difference in people's lives. Preliminary results suggest that the organization's neurodiverse testing teams are 30% more productive than others. However, research shows that knowing about neurodiversity does not mean that neurodivergent people ignore or deny that they have problems.

Neurodiversity means that it's natural for both adults and children to develop differently and to have their own abilities and difficulties. Judy Singer, an Australian sociologist, coined the term “neurodiversity” in 1998 to recognize that each person's brain develops in a unique way. Read on to learn how you can support a neurodiverse workforce and get the best out of all your employees. However, there is still room for greater understanding, awareness and acceptance of neurodiversity in our society.

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