Have you ever helped someone and seen their eyes light up as they realise that they can solve a problem for themselves and keep solving problems? I call this “Making Neurodiversity Heroes.”
In my mid-30s I faced a stark choice, whether to try and complete a qualification that I needed to write essays in a closed room with no other help or whether to bail out and do something different.
As I had been diagnosed with dyslexia I was able to get some help through the government access to work scheme and as a result, I now have a diploma in marketing. This wasn’t a magic wand but instead the start of the process of discovery in recognising I had some real strengths I needed to amplify along with several difficulties I needed to manage to be successful.
Neurotypical and neurodiverse
Neurodiversity is about the fact that we all think differently. What I am specifically interested in though are the people that don’t fit what we call Neurotypical which is what the average person is like in terms of their thinking styles. Neurodivergent on the other hand describes those people that think differently. This can be in small ways or sometimes quite large ways.
Where did the term neurodiversity come from?
The term Neurodiversity has been used since the 1990s and was originally brought into use through a collaboration between sociologist Judy singer and journalist Harvey Blume concerning their work around autism. What the term means has expanded since then to the point now where it encompasses all types of thinking. What is important within this though is recognising that some people are neurotypical and others are neurodivergent.
Why I became a neurodivergent coach
1 in 8 people are Neurodivergent within the workplace and many experience challenges conducting their everyday work. These challenges are often related to efficiency and communication along with being able to carry out tasks in the same way as neurotypical colleagues. This often means that neurodivergent individuals ignore their strengths and instead focus on their perceived difficulties, not bringing the full value they could to their workplace.
I’ve seen what happens to both individuals and organisations when people are helped to do things differently. This is how heroes are made!
Amplify strengths and manage difficulties of Neurodiversity
Neurodivergent individuals can be helped to amplify their strengths and manage perceived difficulties. For example, if they are dyslexic a strength could be around communication skills and emotional intelligence whereas difficulties in processing and short-term memory would be to learn coping strategies and assistive technology.
At this point, it’s important to remember that if you have met one neurodivergent individual you have met only one. Just as each neurotypical person is an individual, each neurodivergent person is an individual too so they need to be treated as one.
When strategies and potential solutions to help amplify strengths and manage difficulties are being looked at it is vital that the individual can make choices about the best way to implement solutions in their situation. I have seen with first-hand experience how neurodivergent individuals can become as efficient, if not more so than their neurotypical colleagues.
I started The Neurodivergent Coach, to help neurodivergent individuals to flourish and help organisations to enable them to flourish.
If you would like to discuss any of the strategies or ideas mentioned here, please get in touch.