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What is neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity describes the diversification of human brains and minds. In particular, it encompasses the infinite different ways that the brain can work and interpret information.

Around 85% of the UK population are classified as ‘neurotypical’, meaning that their brain functions and processes information in the way that society expects.

To assist you in understanding neurodiversity, Acas has produced helpful guidance and videos, which you can access on their website.

Types of neurodivergence

Neurodivergent people often have conditions such as attention deficit disorders, autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia.

The term ‘on the spectrum’ is often used to explain neurodiversity, given that each individual may have different experiences and behaviours as a result of their condition.

It is crucial that your business does not assume based on stereotypical characteristics of the conditions. For example, it would be discriminative to presume that all autistic people will be good at maths.

How can I make my workplace more inclusive of neurodiversity?

If an individual is neurodivergent, it will usually be classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010, making it a legal obligation for you to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace and that individual’s role to remove or minimise any disadvantages to them.

There are many methods that you can implement to be more inclusive of neurodivergent staff, for example:

  • Highlight your commitment to diversity and inclusion in your communications, such as including a footnote in your email signatures.
  • Update your policies to be more inclusive of neurodivergent employees.
  • Reduce the stigma around neurodivergence to make your employees feel safe and empowered to disclose conditions.
  • Provide training to managers and supervisors to ensure that they treat neurodivergent staff fairly.
  • Seek occupational health input from a medical perspective to ensure that you fully-understand the situation, and that you are dealing with the condition effectively.
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