Neurodiversity refers to diversity in the human brain and cognition functions, such as thinking, learning and behaving. It’s the concept that the differences in brain functions are variations – not deficits – in how people experience and interact with the world.
15-20% of the global population is considered neurodivergent, so there’s a high chance that you or your co-workers have neurodivergent features.
Individuals who exhibit such variations are considered “neurodivergent.” Since there isn’t a “normal” way for a brain to work or function, the larger population is said to be “neurotypical.”
Neurodiversity is also often used as an umbrella term covering several conditions, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (autism), and dyslexia.
Neurodivergence is invisible, and that’s a significant hurdle. It leaves many workers who are neurodivergent having to disclose their specific needs to do their best work or request accommodations.
Masking is a common coping mechanism that people who are neurodivergent use to camouflage in neurotypical environments. Whether done deliberately or subconsciously, it creates a lot of exhaustion and stress, increasing the risk of burnout.
There are ways that every employee can challenge or influence cultural norms and contribute to a neurodivergent-friendly work environment. Consider these tips:
Ultimately, it comes down to treating colleagues with respect and accepting them for who they are. Talk to your manager if you have concerns or questions about neurodiversity in your organization.
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