The voice of neurodivergent employees needs representation, and that representation is best created through neurodiversity celebration week. During this week, organisations should take the opportunity to raise awareness and celebrate the contributions that neurodivergent individuals bring to the workplace. Before we get into what organisations can do to celebrate neurodiversity celebration week, we must understand the challenges that neurodivergent individuals face and how increasing understanding and acceptance can lead to more inclusive workplaces.
The challenges that neurodivergent individuals face
Bullying or discrimination
Neurodivergent individuals sometimes experience bullying or discrimination due to their thinking, learning, and communication differences. This can cause them to feel isolated and excluded from the workplace environment. Others may feel a sense of frustration & identity erasure due to the lack of understanding or acceptance of their differences.
Lack of access
Neurodivergent individuals may not have access to the same resources and support networks as those with more traditional mindsets. They should be more noticed in workplace initiatives and conversations, leaving them feeling unimportant and unheard. This can lead to underutilisation of their skills and talents and inadequate career development opportunities.
Punished for asking questions
In some cases, neurodivergent individuals may be punished or reprimanded for asking questions for clarification or seeking help. Perhaps the colleague or manager is not used to a different way of thinking or communicating, which can lead to further misunderstanding between both parties.
Raising awareness and celebrating neurodiversity
Organisations can take this opportunity to raise awareness of neurodiversity in their workplace and celebrate the contributions of neurodivergent individuals. Here are some ideas for how to effectively raise awareness:
Here at Enna we run neurodiversity training to suit all your employees needs. From our flagship 1-0-1 workshop, to managers training and HR training. Neurodiversity training is a great way to raise awareness of neurodiversity throughout your organisation. Click here to view our available workshops.
Simple testimonials and anything that allows people to understand
A volunteer or two can share their story of neurodiversity and how neurodiversity has helped shape their life. This could be a ten-minute testimony, and then people can switch back to watching documentaries or films related to neurodiversity. If this is not possible, hire a neurodiversity spokesperson who can provide support and resources to neurodivergent staff members.
Neurodiversity awareness cards
There are cards sold online that feature exciting facts about neurodiversity and its importance in the workplace. The cards resemble a deck of poker cards, and all that’s required is to pull each out and read it slowly until you get a chance to know what it’s all about. One can also look out for printable versions.
While others are checking out the diversity cards or reading books, you can play a neurodiversity documentary in the background set up on the projector screen. This will allow visual employees to learn the benefits of neurodiversity. If a projector is unavailable, the documentary can be downloaded & watched on a laptop.
Invite a panel of neurodiverse people from various backgrounds to talk about their experiences and the misconceptions they face. The panel could include neurodiverse individuals, representatives from social justice organisations, psychologists, nurses, therapists, teachers, headteachers, childcare providers, autistic moms etc. Any guest willing to attend should be welcomed with open arms.
Neurodiversity celebration week, therefore, is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of neurodiversity and its importance in the workplace. By implementing some of these ideas, you can help create an inclusive workspace where everyone is accepted and respected for who they are.