A picture of a megaphone to illustrate external processing

External processing and neurodiversity

External processing is a cognitive style where people learn and process information by interacting with the world. This can include things like talking to people, doing hands-on activities, or using visual aids. People who use external processing often learn best by “doing” and may find it challenging to learn in traditional settings.

External processing is sometimes associated with neurodiversity, which refers to the natural variations in human cognition.

There are many benefits to external processing. External processors are often creative and innovative thinkers. They can also be good at problem-solving, critical thinking, and effectively communicating and working with others.

However, some challenges are associated with external processing and neurodiversity, as sensory input sometimes overwhelms individuals. They may also need help to focus on tasks that require them to sit still for long periods. More challenges can arise if this is combined with difficulty understanding social cues and nonverbal communication.

If you are a manager or leader, there are a few things you can do to help people who are neurodivergent external processors to succeed in your organisation.


Ensure your workplace is sensory-friendly by providing a quiet space for focused work.

It also means providing access to fidget toys or other tools to help them focus.


Provide opportunities for people to learn and work hands-on. This could involve projects requiring them to use tools or materials or having them work in teams where they can collaborate.


Be patient and understanding. Work with the individual and ask what is useful.


By understanding the benefits and challenges of external processing, you can create a workplace where everyone can thrive.

If you’re a manager or leader, you can help people who process information externally by creating a supportive environment. By understanding the needs of these individuals and providing them with the right tools and resources, you can help them reach their full potential.

Leaders and managers, are you looking for ways to create a more inclusive and supportive workplace for your neurodivergent employees? If so, consider contacting me at The Neurodivergent Coach.

We can help you understand the needs of your neurodivergent employees and how to create a welcoming and supportive workplace. We support you in developing strategies for managing employees who process information differently, including externally.

Here are some of the benefits of working with The Neurodivergent Coach:

  • Increased understanding of neurodiversity: The Neurodivergent Coach can help you understand how neurodivergent people think, learn, and process information. This understanding can help create a more inclusive and supportive workplace for your employees.
  • Improved communication: The Neurodivergent Coach can help you improve your communication with your neurodivergent employees and colleagues. This can help you better understand their needs and how to partner with them to support them to succeed.
  • Increased effectiveness: The Neurodivergent Coach can help you partner with your neurodivergent employees to help them increase their effectiveness. This is about providing the right tools and resources and creating a welcoming and supportive workplace.

If you want to learn more about how The Neurodivergent Coach can help you create a more inclusive and supportive workplace, please get in touch with us today.

We’d be happy to discuss what you need and if we are the best partner to help you move forwards.

Contact us here and start the conversation.