The reality of a neurodiverse person in your workforce!

There is a lot written about creating a neurodiversity friendly workplace such as:

  • employers need to increase the awareness of neurodiversity
  • provide adequate support
  • create neurodiverse friendly work spaces
  • a truly neurodiverse workplace

The list above is very general and sweeping advice but what exactly does thoses sentances mean? To the avarge person not a lot. What factors can impact an Autisic person?

Impacting Factors

Why the Factors Impact

Concentration and focus

Hyper sensative hearing- cannot shut out a conversation 3 tables away – there is a need to damp down the surrounding environment


Occurs when there is no precise direction and/or too many task are given with no clear direction forward – managment training

Energy levels

Hyper sensativy results in sensory overload- cannot shut out a conversation 3 tables away – this uses 2-3 times more energy than normal. There is a need to damp down the surrounding environment, ask the person how this can be done.

Social interaction and communication

An autisic person does understand social niceities but such things do not come naturally to them. It take a huge amount of energy for them to project the socail norms daley. This is known as masking. Demasking does happen because energy levels are low. Misinisie socail interaction breif imediate collegues on what to expect and how to best respond. Ask the indivdual how they would like collegues to respond.

Spelling, reading and writing, Aritmetic ability

This is a much misunderstood area because people gernally think of Autisc people as super clever with no such problem. However, many Autistic people are dyslexic, dysphasic and discaluculus . This mean they have problems puttting a written document together but they may have amazing verbal communication, a category I fall into. There are software support pacakges. Acknowledge a person strength use the weakness and turn them into a strength. As the person they know how to do it.

Organisation, planning and/or maintaining a schedule

To an Autisic person organsiation and planning at the wider level is sometimes irelevant to them because as they see it it serves no direct benefit. Explain the benefit to them, the team, orgnaisation and assist the person to develop a process that will provide what the workplace requires and assits the person to be more productive.

Sense of direction

Any person can have a bad sense of direction. An understanding of you are going and how to get there is essentail for all aspects of life. For an Austisic person the wider persective can be difficult because they deal in the detail of the imediate/now. A detailed explination of the wider picture will enable a person to make thoses connections.

Vision and hearing

When hearing and seeing thing an Autisic person cannot not filter out/ignore anything that is not relevant. They process and assess everything at lightening speed. Doing this all day everyday is exsuhsting and will cause burnouts.

Setting the Environment

Above are just a few of the impacting factors. Each persons impacting factors will be dependant on the indivdual but also the workplace environment and they type of work being undertaken. The best place to find solutions to the impact factors strat with the person themselves. Ask them they will know!!

They may not know they know, they may find it difficult to verbalise, they may not feel comfortable talking about what is having a negative impact on their welbeing. Talking to the correct person asking the correct questions can lead to a positive and productive workplace environment for everyone concered. A coach can provide the support and clarity for all concered. A coach is trained to ask questions of all concerend in a none confountaitonal but informational gathering manner. This approach will tease out the information and detail need to develop an neurodiverse workplace for that indivdual.

It is the responbsibliity of the indivdual and workplace to set the environment that creates a neurodiverse workspace. Setting the environment is key and once achived you will see benefits such as:

  • Creativity and innovation
  • Lateral thinking
  • Strategic analysis
  • Bringing a different perspective
  • Strong problem-solving and spatial reasoning capabilities
  • Consistency in tasks
  • Sustained attention to detail
  • Information processing
  • Quality assurance
  • Employee engagement
  • Thinking outside the box!
  • Inovative solutions

Neurodiversity is not a negative in the workplace it is a huge plus. When it is understood, taken into account and harnessed the Neurodiverse people are an immense talent – do not lose them! You need to keep them engaged and motivated. Do this and you will increase productivity and retention.

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