The workplace is changing, and the demand for neurodiverse employees is on the rise. Neurodiversity refers to a wide range of neurological conditions, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyslexia, and more. This new workforce is quickly becoming the hottest commodity in the job market due to their incredible dedication, innovation, and lack of social requirements. In this blog post, we will discuss the “neurodiversity revolution” and why dedicated, innovative, and less social employees are taking over the job market.
My name is Joshua M. Evans and I’m Neurodiverse. Yup. I have ADHD, but this isn’t about me dealing with my hyperactivity or my attention deficit.
4 years ago my son began coming home from school and screaming as he washed his hands. No matter how much we pleaded, begged or incentivized our son, Luke, he refused to stop screaming. You see, the problem was that Luke’s younger brother was usually napping at this time. Luke’s screaming had consistently been waking up his little brother. This led to the destruction of the sleep regimen we had established. Luke’s disruption began impacting the entire family and as a parent, I had no idea about how to stop this situation.
For 2 full weeks, Luke would arrive home from school, go to wash his hands, and immediately begin screaming. Having no understanding of how to improve this situation, we decided to have him examined by a professional. We had to find out what was wrong with our little boy.
The psychologist sat me and my wife down for a difficult conversation.
“Your son Luke is Autistic,” she told us.
The word hung in the air and somehow carried a sense of unfathomable weight.
The psychologist explained that it was going to be very difficult for us to use our conventional perspective of reality to understand his unconventional perception of reality. Needless to say, this was life-altering information. It was a mixture of emotions. We were relieved to have a diagnosis for our son. My mind wandered back to all the moments that suddenly made sense. Much of what we considered miss behavior was Luke’s efforts to understand his environment. He was exploring the world using his unconventional perceptions.
The next school day after we received the diagnosis, Luke went to school. When he came home, again, Luke began screaming at the top of his lungs.
No amount of pleading or begging could get Luke to stop his blood-curdling cries. It was vividly apparent that I did not understand his perspective, but I had to find out what was going on inside his mind.
I got down on Luke’s level and instead of telling him what I wanted him to do, I decided to try and unpack what was going on in his brain.
I asked him an inquisitive question, “Luke why are you screaming?”
Luke looked me in the eyes, something that he has always struggled with, and he replied “Daddy, I’m not screaming. Those are the germs screaming as they get washed off so I can have clean hands like you and mommy want.”
I began chuckling and it quickly turned into laughs. In Luke’s mind, he had inadvertently gamified a task he had to complete. Once I stopped laughing, I ask Luke to “Please tell the germs to stop screaming.”
Since then he has never screamed again while washing his hands.
I had absolutely misperceived the situation. I originally thought he was just trying to wake up his little brother or that this was a cry for attention. It wasn’t. It was Luke using his unique mind to function within the bounds of our reality.
While there are dozens, if not hundreds of similar situations, I’ve come to respect and appreciate the truly special perspective that he brings to our lives. Luke’s novel way of thinking has solved many problems and brought immense joy to our lives. His neurodiversity has become one of his greatest assets.
Neurodiversity is an umbrella term for a range of neurological conditions that impact how a person thinks, learns, and expresses themselves. These conditions include autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, dyspraxia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and Tourette syndrome. Neurodiversity is not a disorder or an illness; it is simply an alternate way of processing the world around us.
Neurodiversity offers a unique perspective, with strengths in problem solving, critical thinking, and attention to detail. Neurodiverse individuals often think outside the box, finding innovative solutions to complex problems. They also tend to be more driven and dedicated to their work, often making them more reliable employees.
Though they may require additional support in the workplace, the benefits of hiring neurodiverse employees far outweigh any challenges. Neurodiversity offers organizations the opportunity to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace environment. It also allows companies to tap into new skillsets and perspectives, leading to increased productivity and success.
Our family was vacationing at a ranch in central Texas. The property was outfitted with several cottages and a main barn/gazebo. The barn had high ceilings with glass windows at the top. One afternoon, a hummingbird zoomed into the barn and flew upwards. The bird became stuck at the top of the barn, unable to see the exits (large garage doors) at the ground level.
For 30 minutes, the other adults and I tried to save this little hummingbird with no success.
Luke said he had an idea, then proceeded to walk into the field and begin picking flowers. I assumed he had lost interest in the hummingbird. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
5 minutes later, Luke walked back into the barn with a fist full of flowers. He set them in a cup and stepped back. As if by cue, the hummingbird dropped from the rafter and flew straight to the flowers Luke had picked. After a quick sip of nectar, the hummingbird flew out the open garage door.
In truth, I never would have thought of that solution. Luke was able to think differently and bring about a resolution in a way no one had foreseen.
Neurodiversity is quickly becoming a sought-after attribute among employers, with many now seeking to add more neurodiverse employees to their staff. This is because these employees can bring a range of unique skills and qualities that can benefit the workplace.
For starters, neurodiverse employees tend to be incredibly dedicated and hardworking. This is because they often have a higher commitment to task completion, due to their specific neurological wiring. This makes them excellent problem-solvers, as well as great team players who can help keep projects on track and tasks completed on time.
In addition, neurodiverse employees tend to be incredibly innovative and creative. This is because their unique cognitive processing styles allow them to come up with unique solutions and ideas that traditional methods may not have considered. These employees can provide valuable insight into processes and systems, helping to make businesses more efficient.
Finally, neurodiverse employees often bring less of a need for social interaction to the workplace. This can help create an environment where people are focused more on their work, without any distractions or disruptions caused by too much socializing. This can also reduce stress levels and help create a more productive working environment.
Overall, neurodiversity can be a huge benefit to employers looking to gain a competitive edge in the job market. Neurodiverse employees bring an array of unique skills and qualities that can help make businesses more efficient, innovative, and successful.
Neurodiversity offers employers a wide range of advantages, from dedicated and innovative employees to lower turnover rates. But which jobs are neurodiverse employees best suited for?
The good news is that neurodiverse employees can be a great fit for a variety of roles and industries. Neurodiverse individuals tend to be highly detail-oriented and analytical, making them excellent candidates for technical jobs in fields such as software engineering, programming, data analysis, and web development. They also have the ability to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to problems, making them ideal for jobs in areas such as design, research, marketing, and product development.
In addition, neurodiverse individuals often have the ability to focus on tasks for long periods of time without getting distracted, making them well suited for jobs that require intense concentration, such as accounting and finance. They may also be more resilient when it comes to dealing with stress and high pressure situations, making them ideal for management positions.
The bottom line is that neurodiverse individuals can make an incredibly valuable contribution to any organization, regardless of the job role. Employers should consider the unique talents and strengths that neurodiverse individuals bring to the table when hiring for any position. By recognizing and embracing neurodiversity, employers can create a workforce that is more innovative, collaborative, and successful.
Hiring neurodiverse employees can be a great way to bring fresh perspectives and new skills to the workplace. However, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are some tips for finding and hiring neurodiverse employees.
1. Understand the Different Types of Neurodiversity: Before you can start recruiting, you need to understand the different types of neurodiversity and how they might benefit your organization. Neurodiversity includes various disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and dyslexia. Each of these diagnoses comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to understand what type of role would best suit each candidate.
2. Seek Out Neurodiverse Candidates: Once you understand the different types of neurodiversity, you can start searching for candidates. Many organizations have partnered with nonprofits and other organizations to help recruit and hire neurodiverse individuals. You can also look for job postings specifically targeted towards neurodiverse individuals. Additionally, you may want to attend events organized by organizations that specialize in helping people with disabilities find employment.
3. Consider Flexibility and Accommodations: When interviewing neurodiverse candidates, it’s important to be flexible and accommodating. This may include allowing more time for interviews, providing assistive technology or tools, and providing a quiet, comfortable place to take the interview. Additionally, you should consider offering flexible scheduling options, such as working remotely or job-sharing, if possible.
4. Train Employees on Neurodiversity: Once you’ve hired a neurodiverse employee, it’s important to provide training for all staff on neurodiversity and how to work effectively with this population. Educating everyone in the workplace on neurodiversity will ensure that everyone is aware of the needs of neurodiverse employees and can work together as a team to create an inclusive environment.
By following these steps, you can ensure that you’re taking the necessary steps to successfully recruit and hire neurodiverse individuals. With their unique skillsets, neurodiverse employees can make a valuable contribution to any workplace.