Written by: Nicole VanNienwenhove
ClearEdge is proud to support Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2023, a week created as a worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences. Rather than labeling people with deficits or a disability that needs to be “cured,” neurodiversity instead considers and celebrates individuals’ strengths and weaknesses.
So what exactly is neurodiversity?
You may be surprised to know that you or someone you know may be neurodiverse! In fact, approximately 15-20% of the population is neurodiverse. Neurodiversity is a popular umbrella term that covers many different alternative thinking styles, like ADHD, autism, dyscalculia, dyslexia, anxiety, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, and more.
(Image from Barrier Free).
Despite having up to 20% of the workforce potentially being neurodiverse, it can still be challenging to ask for accommodations in the workplace. Yet requesting these accommodations can be essential to perform a job, which can lead to better job performance, productivity, and satisfaction.
As an employer, why are providing accommodations important? For one thing, you will be compliant with ADA laws and regulations, but it also will help retain talented employees and tap into a pool of talent that can drive innovation and growth. By embracing and supporting neurodiversity with flexible and collaborative policies and procedures, both the employer and the employee will benefit.
Here are some resources you may find helpful as an employer, colleague, or a neurodiverse person yourself:
- Indeed has an article on how to ask for accommodations at work
- Mental Health America lists different accommodations as well as provides an email template to make requests at work
- This article from Living Autism covers some of the ways you can support a colleague with autism. While the tips may not be applicable to all neurodivergent individuals, it does cover how you can approach helping your coworkers by being patient and flexible.
- This article from ADHD at Work covers how you can help an employee with ADHD succeed.
- The Job Accommodation Network has a significant amount of resources for both employees and employers.