Do Great Minds Think Alike? No, Great Minds Think Differently

“Disability is an opportunity for innovation.”

– Haben Girma, Disability Rights Lawyer & Activist

Every challenge in business and life has a silver lining. Given the Great Resignation and current labor shortage, this is a good time in Human Resource Management to consider neurodiversity. A neurodiverse workforce offers different ways of thinking, unique strengths and skills, and increases business success. Therefore, your company needs to recognize and cater to neurodiversity.

Once traditionally considered disabilities, conditions like ADHD, dyslexia, and autism represent the diversity of neurological processing styles. The educational community is leading the way to foster respect for people who might be considered neurological minorities.

What is Neurodiversity?

Neuro [brain, nerve or nervous system], diversity [the state of being diverse; variety].

As humans, we all vary in terms of our neurocognitive ability. We all have talents and things we struggle with. However, for some people, the variation between those strengths and weaknesses is more pronounced, which can bring talent but can also be disabling depending on various conditions.

The movement of Neurodiversity is about uncovering the strengths of neurodiverse individuals and utilizing their talents to increase the innovation and productivity of society as a whole.

Neurodiverse/neurodivergent people tend to find some things straightforward and other things incredibly hard. This usually may lead to an inconsistent performance at work if we are not aware of harnessing these individuals’ talent.

Neurodiversity can be a competitive advantage when the individuals are in the right environment, using their strengths instead of constantly trying to overcome challenges. To achieve this result, we must create inclusive spaces to work and learn that reduce disabling factors and amplify diverse abilities.

School & Skills

Training and education are available for people with diverse neurological diagnoses across accredited top-rated universities and specialized colleges.

Education includes transferable job skills such as office administration (filing, scanning, and data entry) and warehousing (inventory, stocking, and order fulfillment) while teaching the skills necessary to maintain gainful employment.

Employment Training

  • Soft Business Skills
  • Business Math
  • Microsoft Office Programs
  • Interviewing
  • Resume Writing

Interpersonal Self-Development

  • Personal Advocacy
  • Interpersonal Communications
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Transition Planning
  • Goal Setting
  • Time Management

Background & Behaviors

The diagnosis of dyslexia became more common in the 1970s and inspired active debate between those who use the term “learning disability” and those who prefer the term “learning difference.”

In the late 1990s, Judy Singer, a sociologist on the autism spectrum herself, came up with a word to describe conditions like ADHD, Autism, and Dyslexia; this word was “neurodiversity.” Her hope and objective were to shift the focus and discourse about ways of thinking and learning away from the usual litany of deficits, disorders, and impairments to more simple and accepted methods of how people learn.

She asserted that these differences be recognized and respected as a social category on a par with gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability status. Her initial concepts evolved into neurodiversity as an approach to learning and disability that positions diverse neurological conditions due to normal variations in the human genome.

The emerging paradigm shift suggests that these profiles, traditionally considered disabilities, represent the diversity of neurological processing styles.

Business & Brains

The COVID pandemic taught us that workplace design could no longer be approached as a one-size-fits-all solution. There’s an infinite range of differences in what employees demand and how our brains function, learn and process information. Neurocognition influences our personality, behavior, and what we’re good at. We all experience the world differently, and the workplace needs to support everybody who uses it. The office is a powerful tool to enable excellent performance, and creating optimal space to engage as an employee contributes to organizational success.

The range of variation in human neurocognition means that naturally, each workforce is diverse. The workplace needs to reflect these differences to support every person with concentrating, managing distractions, processing information, and communicating effectively. Various skill sets need to be accommodated, and unique strengths should be leveraged for collective success. Workplace strategy and design should enable users to be the best version of themselves, supported for exactly who they are and how they work most effectively.

Many companies, from large corporations to small businesses, have developed successful neurodiversity hiring initiatives that help to improve their bottom lines and increase the employment rates of people with disabilities. You can too; reach out to Soteria HR now.


Sources:

  1. https://www.lifecollegeoc.org/program
  2. https://med.stanford.edu/neurodiversity.html
James Harwood