Spring (no date) estimates that in the UK, around 15% of the population (nearly 1 in 7 of us) is neurodivergent. This is often a hidden disability. Watch this short video by AmpliFly to hear a useful explanation of what neurodiversity is:
Transcript: Video 3: What is neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity celebrates the fact that the differences in our brains are normal genetic variations, leading to different ways of thinking and specific abilities. Despite the fact that many individuals regard their neurodiversity as an ability or special power, it can be seen by employers as a limitation, rather than an opportunity in the workplace.
However, employers are starting to realise the benefits.
Listen to James Mahoney from JP Morgan Chase, talking about changing the recruitment practices that impact negatively on neurodiverse candidates and successfully hiring software testers on the autism spectrum:
Transcript: Video 4: J.P. Morgan’s Autism at work journey
As recently as 2020, Spring (no date) conducted a survey of over 1000 UK workers across a range of industries and found that 54% had never heard the term ‘neurodiversity’, with the younger generations more likely to be familiar than the older ones.
Their research also showed that the IT & tech industry is leading the way in their understanding of neurodiversity, perhaps because neurodivergent individuals often have specialist skills that are highly valued by those sectors.
Activity 2 Exploring neurodiversity
Choose two of the following terms and use your preferred search engine to find out more about them.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Asperger’s Syndrome
- Tourette’s syndrome
Although we are often familiar with the words, we might be confused by exactly what they mean. Hopefully, this activity has helped to clarify your understanding.
BECTU, the trade union for creatives, provides a useful glossary of neurodiversity terms here. [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]
If you haven’t already found them, YouTube also has many useful videos that can help you to understand the life experience of a neurodivergent person. For example, on autism:
A key learning point is that neurodivergence isn’t an illness, it just means an individual has a different way of learning and processing information.
It is also important to be aware that every person’s experience of neurodivergence is different, so that can make it difficult to put generic support in place.
Transcript: Video 5: Diverted
And another example, on ADHD: