Disclosure is a big thing for neurodivergent individuals. Whether you are searching for a job or already have a job, the choice whether to tell a potential or current employer is often tricky and may create a lot of worry for someone.
Disclosing your neurodiversity is completely personal and depend on the status of your employment, who you are and what you want to achieve from disclosing. No one can tell you the right or wrong thing to do.
Here at Enna, we get questions about disclosure on a weekly basis. We’ve created this blog to help you answer common questions around disclosing your neurodiversity, when choosing to disclose or talk about their neurodiversity to a potential or current employer.
Does the law protect me?
Different types of neurodiversity, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia are considered disabilities and therefore are protected under the Equality Act of 2010.
The Equality Act legally protects neurodivergent people from discrimination in the workplace. There are four main types of discrimination which is important to be aware of.
This means treating one person worse than another person because of a protected characteristic. For example, a promotion comes up at work. The employer believes that people’s memories get worse as they get older so doesn’t tell one of his older employees about it, because he thinks the employee wouldn’t be able to do the job.
This can happen when an organisation puts a rule or a policy or a way of doing things in place which has a worse impact on someone with a protected characteristic than someone without one. For example a local authority is planning to redevelop some of its housing. It decides to hold consultation events in the evening. Many of the female residents complain that they cannot attend these meetings because of childcare responsibilities.
The Equality Act can help you talk about your neurodiversity in the workplace, as legally, employers are required to support you and implement reasonable adjustments.
Will disclosing help me during the recruitment process?
Disclosing your neurodiversity and talking about it can help you get reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process. Reasonable adjustments are basically things put in place to support a neurodivergent candidate, and reduce the disadvantages they may face compared to their neurotypical candidates (those without a type of neurodiversity).
Getting reasonable adjustments could help you do better during the recruitment process, as it can enable you to get extra time or questioned rephrased in a different way, to give you a couple of examples.
Many employers have an easy way to request adjustments during the application stage, so have a look out in communication with the recruiter about how to get them.
Is the employer neurodiversity friendly? Will they understand my neurodiversity?
A lot of individuals we work with at Enna often wonder whether the organisation they’re applying for or work for is neurodiversity friendly. You may be asking yourself questions like ‘will they understand my neurodiversity?’ ‘will they be friendly towards my neurodiversity?’.
The Disability Confident scheme is a government scheme that is there to publicly recognise employers that are committed to becoming disability or neurodiversity friendly. In order to achieve the disability confident status, employers have to commit to doing certain things to make their workplace more inclusive, and are measured on them by professionals.
When searching and applying for jobs, disability confident employers usually have the disability confident logo located on their careers site (where you look and find jobs). This can help you decide whether or not you want to disclose your neurodiversity, and you could even ask about their commitment to the disability confident scheme at interview if you aren’t sure.
If I disclose, when is the right time to disclose my neurodiversity?
There is no right or wrong time to talk about your neurodiversity to a potential or current employer. However, there are many different times you could which each have their own pros and cons.
Here at Enna, we would recommend writing down all the parts of the recruitment process, and what you think would be the pros and cons associated with each part. So when you’re next applying for a job, you could disclose your neurodiversity at a time that suits you best.
One of the most common times we see is before an interview, as it enables neurodivergent candidates to get reasonable adjustments to help them.
How do I talk about and disclose my neurodiversity positively?
Being neurodivergent comes with a lot of strengths, which if you havent been in employment before, may be difficult to realise at first. It can be really helpful to understand your strengths and how your neurodiversity may help you in a job when you are disclosing to employers.
At Enna we would recommend sitting down with friends and family members and discussing what your strengths are that relate to your neurodiversity, and thinking of the best ways to communicate this to a potential employer.
How do I disclose when I’ve been in a job for a while?
Disclosing your neurodiversity when you’re already in a job can be tricky. We would recommend talking to someone you trust first and reading up on your companies diversity and inclusion policies, to see if theres a process you can follow. Again, its completely your decision as to who you inform or how you talk about your neurodiversity.
Looking for some more help? Watch our disclosure video.
Lara who works for Enna is neurodivergent, and is autistic, dylexic, dyspraxic and has ADHD. Shes created a really helpful video on disclosure which you can watch below.