Neurodiversity is a concept where neurological imbalances are identified and acknowledged like any other individual differences. These differences can be individuals with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome, and more.
Presently, companies like Microsoft and EY are regulating plans to enroll people with neurological disorders like Asperger syndrome (AS), otherwise known as Asperger’s. People with this kind of disparity have limited and repetitive patterns of behaviour and they find it difficult to socialise and to have nonverbal communication with others.
Different organisations are keenly taking interest in the concept of neurodiversity including the U.S.A. and progressively in the U.K. says Charlotte Sweeney, founder of Charlotte Sweeney Associates. It is significant for the organisations to develop a comprehensive understanding of neurodiversity in order to benefit from it.
According to George Selvanera, director of the strategy and external affairs for Business Disability Forum, there are numerous advantages in recruiting people with neurodiversity. He says,
“Diverse teams are more profitable and deliver higher levels of customer satisfaction. It’s important not to over-generalise but there are particular roles where there are unquestionable strengths that people who have a different way of processing information will bring to bear in the workplace.”
Sweeney suggests organisations to find the role that best suits the people with neurodiversity. For instance, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), these individuals pay attention to detail and are well versed with facts and figures so organisations should find a place that best fits the individuals with ASD. “The Danish software company Specialsterne specialises in creating software code – three-quarters of their workers has autistic spectrum disorder. The work is routine and detailed and plays to their strengths.”
Video: Educating a neurodiverse world | Brian Kinghorn | TEDxTeachersCollege
Neurodiversity in the Workplace
As per the research conducted by Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one among sixty-eight children in the United States of America has ASD (or 14.6 per 1,000 8-year-olds). With this view in mind, many companies are trying hard to find out various ways that can help them utilise the strengths of people having autism or ASD. This highly expanding inclusion into the businesses or firms will bring neurodiversity in vogue.
Various companies are introducing programs that can not only make them reach people with autism or ASD but also provide them with opportunities to work with them. This includes companies like Microsoft, EY, Freddie Mac and the international technology giant, SAP. These companies, with their program “Autism at work”, are aiming to employ an initiative to integrate one percent of autistic or ASD workforce into their companies.
These programs endeavours to recruit, train and onboard autistic individuals by the year 2020. According to these companies, autistic individuals should be encouraged and given a chance in areas like software development and software testing. This inclusion will help and bring success to both employers as well as employees.
Overcoming the Challenges
It is a challenge for the organisations to train their employees on the characteristics of ASD, autism or other neuro disorders that if achieved successfully will help them create a desirable environment that will not only welcome but also embrace diversity. In order to achieve this, it is necessary for the organisations to search for multiple ways that will help them understand diversity and bring in employees a sense of respect and appreciation for people with different needs.
Another challenge is a change to routine of individuals with neurodiversity. It is difficult for them to cope with these changes as people with neurodiversity follow their own schedule, work at their own time and pace. Any kind of alteration in it will lead to an inconvenience for the people with neurodiversity. Other factors that need to be addressed by the organisations are work consistency, the timing of the work and quiet working environment which are all important for the success of any organisation.
Benefits of Neurodiversity
Organisations are making efforts to uncover the unexplored potentialities that individuals with neurodiversity, or other forms of diversities, possess. The benefits that diversity brings to an organisation are more than a variety of giving attention to detail. The inclusive working environment provides opportunities for people with neurodiversity who also come with a wide range of economic and racial background. These individuals with their distinct ability to perceive the world bring in a different kind of creativity to the workplace that will help in attaining what it intends to achieve.
It is observed that people with Asperger syndrome usually have an average or above-average intelligence and are generally highly educated but it is difficult for them to maintain social relations. EY company is facilitating its newly appointed employees to examine the effectiveness of account operations and to study the requirements of its customers. Not only this, but it is also lending a hand to know the inconsistency in documents to operate robotic auditing device.
The success of any organisation is highly dependent on how differently it works when compared to other organisations. This difference between organisations and their working patterns can be achieved by providing an opportunity to people with neurodiversity in companies and giving them a platform where they can showcase their creativity that will give a completely different angle to the business world that was never experienced before.
However, people with neurodiversity might look content with the present condition of the business firm but the quality that sets them apart from others is that they do not take things at their face value. This is a trait that was found in prior scientists and researchers like Darwin and Einstein who perceived the world and contributed to it differently.