Alastair Campbell

The power of neurodiversity in the workplace: Top tips from Texthelp, Genius Within and MatchWare


If you were there, I’m sure you would agree that it was full of great hints and tips for everyone interested in supporting employees in their organisation. 


The power of a neurodiverse workplace

Alastair and I were delighted to co-host with Kate Gilbert from Genius Within, and Liam Pettit from MatchWare to bring a wealth of neurodiverse knowledge.   

The day reflected the passion and determination to fully embrace the strengths of neurodiversity in all aspects of the workplace - and we thought we’d share some of the key learnings on the day.
 

It’s all about perspective 

On top of the Shard you see the city’s vastness – giving unique views of London, the architecture, the parks. But walking at street level gives you a completely different view. 

Depending on where you are standing, you will interpret things differently to others.

Where you stand and your proximity to others will determine what you see. At a distance, it is easy to overlook a single individual and even easier to overlook hidden disabilities and workplace barriers. Get closer, look for that different perspective in the workplace. 
 

It’s worth getting to know your employees - help them find strategies that work for them 

The following strategies from Genius Within may help start the process of finding individualised strategies. One size won’t fit all - so communicate and engage with each colleague and find out what works for them. 

Colour is often useful to help clarify groups or subjects. It can be used to prioritise too. 

Visual reminders help keep us on track. However not everyone likes to be able to see every task they've got to do – it can be overwhelming. 

Flip chart/dump pad/checklists: if the brain doesn't have to ‘hold on to ‘ a memory, there is less for it to be busy with.  Writing ideas down in any order can support this. 

Neurodiverse people often find managing time accurately a challenge. They can be ‘always early’ because they worry about being late, or constantly late. They may not build in travel or admin time and almost certainly won’t plan time to think. 

Talking things through can help people to ‘unpick’ what's happening. 
 

Create a safe environment where strengths can flourish

To create these individualised strategies, buy in from the senior management team is required. Organisations such as ITV, Network Rail and Foreign & Commonwealth Office have adopted this approach and are now reaping the rewards.

As a result, taking ITV as an example, they report an increase in productivity, accuracy and confidence AND their staff feel valued and appreciated. For more information about their transformation, visit our recent case study with them. 


Provide the right tools to provide that much needed assistance 

Technology can help with your personalised support offering. 

We explored two options on the day - Read&Write is an assistive technology solution that gives your organisation a communications boost. The discreet toolbar gives instant access to a number of useful functions, from text-to-speech, on-screen highlighters, audio report creation and much more. 

Mind-mapping software can also offer support for those who prefer visual working as opposed to linear lists. MatchWare’s MindView solution is great for anybody brainstorming, report writing, trying to process thoughts for decision making, and much more. 

Both of these options can instantly transform the working day for neurodiverse individuals - by encouraging concentration, focus, and ultimately improving productivity and employee potential. 

If you missed the event, we have a handy compact guide with more hints and tips to consider. Check it out. 
Thank you to Kate and Liam for joining us for an insightful day, and thank you to everyone who came along and shared their experiences. 

I hope you found this blog useful. If you would like any further information from our speakers, I’ve linked to their LinkedIn profiles at the beginning of the blog. Feel free to connect - they’re a friendly bunch! 

For any other questions, please feel free to contact us via the comments section below. 

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About Jason

Jason joined Texthelp in 2014 to encourage the use of assistive technologies across organisations in the UK and Ireland.

By exploring how assistive technology can break down communication barriers online and in our increasingly digital workplaces, Jason helps to create more inclusive organisations, whilst making online information and services more accessible to all. 

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