Chances are you may know about neurodiversity under a variety of labels
As humans we are naturally inclined to put labels on things so we can more easily understand and categorise our world. Case in point is neurodiversity—often encountered as ‘autism’ or acronyms such as ADHD, ADD, OCD…and more.
The ‘D’ at the end of these acronyms usually stands for ‘Disorder’. This is outdated terminology from the Clinical Model of Disability that misrepresents for most the current understanding of neurodiversity, DivergenThinking is advocates for the strengths based Social Model of Disability.
Grounded in neuroscience, the term ‘neurodiversity’ refers to the differences in the human brain wiring which are shaped by genetic and environmental factors. It is literally how our brains are wired.
It is clear these so called ‘disorders’ are in fact ‘differences’ that, seen in the new and clearer light of the social model, make sense.
Academically, we know that everyone thinks differently but when people behave differently to us, we are often surprised, at times offended and sometimes judgemental. Understanding simply starts with acknowledging that everyone with a brain is, by definition, unlike anyone else.
Many people with neurological differences such as autism and dyslexia have extraordinary skills, including in pattern recognition, memory, and mathematics. Yet they often struggle to fit the job profiles sought by employers. Equally employers, leaders and recruiters have an important role to play here.
These narrow profiles create barriers and challenges for both highly skilled individuals who think differently who want to work and contribute, and organisations needing engaged, productive, and innovative thinkers. Ofte employers employ people who think alike as they believe this will build a good culture however they are inadvertently creating a homogenised workforce.
DivergenThinking seeks leading organisations to join us on the journey to rethink how they currently recruit and learn how to recruit for the specific brain wiring. This will ensure greater individual and job success.
Great minds DON’T think alike
There are approximately eight billion people on our planet – and every single person’s brain is wired differently. Therefore we are all neurodiverse. Some of us have stronger neurodiverse traits than others – Elon Musk is autistic and ADHD. Richard Branson is dyslexic. These stronger traits are diagnosed and given labels which the general population don’t understand due to a lack of simple clear information.
Sadly, most who do interact with people with strong neurodiverse traits, often misunderstand and misjudge what’s actually at play. This can prove severely limiting for all involved. The more we all understand neurodiversity, the better we can maximise strengths and manage challenges. This contributes massively to the quality of mental health and wellbeing.
Positive engagement and interaction between different brains can be remarkable.
Neurodiverse and neurodiverse
Definitions for using the big ‘N’ and little ‘n’ in neurodiversity
Big “N” more extreme forms of neurodiversity i.e., autism (ASD), dyslexia, ADHD, ADD and many more.
Little “n” for neurodiversity fits into our philosophy everybody’s brain is different, we are all to some degree neurodiverse. When we understand what sits underneath our iceberg and everyone else’s this enables everyone to ‘get each other’, leading to higher performing teams.
This mutual understanding is important because it leads to psychological safety and enhanced productivity and allows us to understand where our gaps are for team needs and our individual superpowers/specific strengths.
Our neurodiverse profile changes depending on what level of emotional state we are in. When we are feeling stressed and under pressure what helps us and what we need from others changes. Well managed stress can also be a superpower as long as we are being supported in a way that works best for our stressed brain. The skill as a leader is knowing how to gauge what each team member needs depending on both the situation and their brain state. They can provide what the individual needs in that moment so they can thrive rather than survive.
When individuals ‘truly’ get themselves, they can apply self-management strategies that build their own resilience to the volatile (V), complex (C), uncertain (U), complex (C), ambiguous (A) aka VUCA world which we live in. When we feel ‘got’ and feel we are playing to our strengths we are much more likely to be able to perform at a high level and really enjoy our work.
When customers feel ‘got’ they are much more likely to return to the business because we like to feel heard, valued, and understood.
Look who’s thinking!
Companies like Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Deloitte, JPMorgan, EY and Goldman Sachs among others are all actively recruiting Neurodiverse individuals within their teams. In fact, they have been doing it for decades in order to gain an innovative, creative and competitive edge and thereby gaining a reputation as market leaders.
Our Getting GOT series of workshops and eLearning courses provide in-depth knowledge, insights and perspectives on neurodiversity and its successful application in life.