Workplace Neurodiversity: The Power Of Difference

New research, in partnership with Infinite Autism, Autistic Nottingham and Tourettes action, reveals a significant lack of understanding and awareness of neurodivergents in the workplace despite an estimated one in seven people being neurodivergent.  

  • Highest level of bias exists towards Tourette Syndrome and ADHD/ADD
  • Suzanne Dobson, CEO Tourette’s Action said: “When we are trying to restart our economy we cannot afford to marginalise so many creative and intelligent people. People living with Tourette Syndrome are especially marginalised as people mistakenly believe everyone with TS has the swearing tic, coprolalia, whereas only 10-15% do.
  • Managers and leaders in the construction, engineering and manufacturing sectors had the most significant concerns, with 32 per cent saying they would be uncomfortable hiring autistics and 29 per cent not being comfortable to hire dyscalculics. 
  • Claire Smith, CEO Autistic Nottingham said: “Most employers are scared to hire neurodiverse people as they only calculate the risks based on the deficits of the condition. Hopefully, this piece of research will not only enable employers to see the strengths that neurodiverse people bring to the workforce but also make a significant contribution to the existing, small amount of research, development and managerial advice that is currently available in the field of neurodiversity.”
  • Over half of autistics (60 per cent), dyspraxics (55 per cent) and dyscalculics (53 per cent) reported that people in their workplace behave in a way that excludes neurodivergent colleagues. But this feeling is not entirely shared by their neurotypical colleagues, with only 29 per cent agreeing this is the case. 
  • Kate Cooper, Head of Research, Policy and Standards at The Institute of Leadership & Management, said: “It’s apparent that while there’s a perceived level of understanding of neurodivergents and their requirements in organisations there is actually a gulf between the lived experience of neurodivergents and the perceptions of those experiences held by neurotypical people.” 
  • The research also identified a lack of neurodiversity in organisations’ diversity and inclusion policies, and in their bullying and harassment policies and procedures. Only 27 per cent could say they were certain that appropriate references were included in their diversity and inclusion policies.
  • Kieran Rose, Managing Director Infinite Autism said: “Recognising the unique lived experiences of neurodivergent people is fundamental to identifying and understanding the issues neurodivergents face in the workplace. This research is key to empowering neurodivergent workers and creating safe, equitable and accessible environments where their potential can be unlocked.”

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