Neurodiversity 1st Aid
What do we mean?
What is neurodiversity?
It is estimated that roughly 1 in 7 people in the UK are neurodivergent, meaning their brain functions, learns and processes information differently than others.
If you were to look up the term neurodiversity in the dictionary you would find this definition:
“The range of differences in individual brain function and behavioral traits, regarded as part of normal variation in the human population (used especially in the context of autistic spectrum disorders - ASD)”.
We are all neurodiverse, fortunately, the world would be a very boring place is we were not. However someone may be neurodivergent where their actions or behaviour may not fall into the usually accepted patterns.
Neurodivergent people are often described as having a “spiky profile”.
They will often exceed in some areas but struggle in others.
The “trick” is to identify the areas where someone excels and nature and encourage that while making the very often very minor and simple adjustments to accommodate these individials.
How does it relate to the workplace
Neurodiversity is a concept that is gaining more awareness, but many companies are still not grasping the importance and benefits of understanding neurodiversity and how to effectively incorporate these individuals into their organisations.
According to research, an organisation that serves neurodivergent individuals is a strong indicator of a healthy, supportive workforce. Hiring people on the spectrum not only benefits them, but organisations are able to gain team members who think in unique ways and can provide innovative solutions that others may not think of.
“This is not a charity act to do something nice for a person with autism; this is about having a more inclusive workforce because we value diversity in our society.”- claims Paul Shattuck OBE former president of the World Autism Organisation.
What are the implications in the workplace
When looking for creative people who think out of the box, who better than someone who thinks “What box?
Including neurodiverse individuals in leading companies is a crucial step in creating a work culture that prioritises different ways of thinking and acceptance of people from all walks of life.
Those who are considered neurodivergent possess unique skills that others may lack, such as strong analytical skills, pattern recognition, mathematical thinking and information processing.
These are all skills that are in high demand when it comes to careers in robotics, process automation, artificial intelligence and other areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
Many companies struggle to find qualified candidates for these positions because they continue to look in the depleted pool of conventional candidates and are overlooking those who think differently, even though they may be a perfect fit.
Neurodiversity training in the workplace is a highly beneficial way to bridge the gap between the professional workforce and neurodivergent individuals.
Employees who undergo neurodiversity training are also at an advantage because they will gain the skills they need to interact with individuals who have cognitive differences. This makes these employees highly valuable and indispensable.
What can/should I do about it?
Those neurodivergent individuals often suffer from mental health issues, including depression and stress and can often be victims of bullying. Prevent this from happening in your workplace by ensuring that you contribute towards building an accepting and nurturing working environment.
This can be achieved by taking part in various awareness day activities, or by simply leading by example and demonstrating an attitude of respect and equality.
Most of us would know how to help if we saw someone having a heart attack we'd start CPR, or at the very least, call 999. But too few of us would know how to respond if we saw someone having a panic attack or if we were concerned that a friend or co-worker might be showing signs of stress.
Mental Health First Aid takes the fear and hesitation out of starting conversations about mental health and substance use problems by improving understanding and providing an action plan that teaches people to safely and responsibly identify and address a potential mental illness or substance use disorder.
Neurodiversity 1st Aid is taking this one step further by acknowledging the additional challenges that these individuals may face.
When more people are equipped with the tools they need to start a dialogue, more people can get the help they need.
How can I get more information?
Kimel Solutions is providing CPD accredited courses on this very topic. Founded by Nic Lander, the father to three autistic girls, together with a team of specialists including a consultant psychiatrist and a psychologist we are offering an innovative understandable course to allow you to become a highly valued and indispensable member of staff who can understand and interact with the facing challenges.
We teach you to ask first, don’t act first and to practice 1st Aid not Last Aid! Simple communication solves a multitude of problems and we will show you how to do this.