ADHD Umbrella Project 2018 Neurodiversity Autism
Neurodiverse Workplace: Function and Beauty

For humans, there is no activity with greater devotion than work. Some devote their entire weekday and for some, this includes the weekend as well. The simple fact is the workplace can be a place to earn money, however, the experience of work has deeper meaning.

The National Research Council (NRC, 1999), supports the observation that 70% of people stated they would keep working even if they had enough money to live comfortably for the rest of their life. As this is the case, employers have to come to the conclusion that since workers spend most of their time in the workplace, accommodations must be made for all who willingly walk through the door.

Let’s face one simple fact: The workplace can be tough to navigate, for employers. Many employers hire I/O Psychologists to consult on issues related to team building, selection, employee development, performance measurement, work-life satisfaction, workplace safety, and diversity training.

Diversity training for employers has been important to employers since the 1970s, 1980s and the 1990s. What have employers learned from a focus on diversity? That not only is it important for compliance with equal employment opportunity regulations, however, it is also important for organizational socialization in which the employees and employer becomes familiar with the mission, but values and procedures of the organization, this new behaviors, and accommodations also follow.

Why is this important to neurodiversity training for employers? A study in 2015, showed that in comparison to other individuals with disabilities, autism topped the list with higher rates of unemployment and social isolation. This also includes other people with milder variants of autism. The unemployment rate is not a lack of talent, it means not enough employers are allowing people with disabilities to get in the door.

Many believe that because autism affects the brain they must be less able to complete the tasks of a neurotypical worker. Neurodiversity training assists organizations to pay close attention to the dynamics of the systems at work. The leaders in the organization and employees must understand stereotypes as well as basic features of disabilities such as eye contact, rapid speech, perseverations, and necessary sensory accommodations. Hiring the right professional for your company training and using RoomForWork’s resources can assist with this need.

Recently, Microsoft engaged in a hiring event to hire coders with Autism and only six were hired. Imagine a world where hiring a person with autism was not an “event” but a regular experience for everyone? What would that be like? Let us see, shall we?

Syntyche Jennings, B.S., BCaBA

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