Neurodiversity Celebration Week – What is Neurodiversity?

The term ‘Neurodiversity’ is relatively new, and fairly umbrella – so what exactly does it mean? Neurodiversity refers to a broad spectrum of variations that can occur within the human brain – as Autism UK puts it, there is an “infinite variation in neurocognitive function within our species.”

Some examples of Neurodiversity are; Autism, ADHA, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, and Tourettes, but the term extends far beyond this. Social Enterprise, Exceptional Individuals point out that “Neuro-differences are recognised and appreciated as a social category on par with ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or disability status.”

Despite this recognition, many people still encounter day-to-day struggles as a result of others’ approach to their neurodiversity, the founder of Exceptional Individuals – Matt Boyd – founded the company as a result of his personal struggles navigating the job-application process as a dyslexic person. 

Workplaces that don’t recognise or accommodate neurodiversities can become challenging or even hostile environments for individuals who are neurodiverse; 1 in 7 people in the UK have a neurodiversity, representing a large proportion of the countries’ workforce. Better understanding these differences can have huge benefits for the employer, and more importantly, for the individual.

These neurodiverse adults were once children, and many faced the same issues during their time in Education. 

Neurodiversity-Celebration-Week.com says many of the 15% of UK who are neurodiverse or have a ‘learning difference’, will go into adulthood feeling negative about their time in education. 

Many will sadly feel like their individual strengths are not being recognised or nurtured.  It is important “to recognise our creativity, innovation, ability to think outside-the-box, problem-solving skills, unique insights, and perspectives, as well as our perseverance and resilience.” – Neurodiversity-Celebration-Week.com

Well Grounded Graduate and Barista, Zak

Zak is a Well Grounded Graduate and is on the Autistic Spectrum. Having completed our Traineeship programme back in 2017, he went on to work in The Shard as a Barista, and more recently, as a Supervisor. Zak’s advice for any neurodiverse person is to communicate, and although neurodiversities vary enormously, Zak’s advice is useful across the board. He says that in the workplace, awareness is key – communicating to your colleagues and especially your line manager is essential: “Let the manager know so you can work up a plan” Zak says, appreciating one another’s differences is the key to making the team happy, efficient and functional. His advice extends to the individual: 

“Don’t feel that you’re limited because of it, no one should feel restricted… give it your best, give it 100%… if you make a mistake, that’s okay, these things happen.”

At Well Grounded we believe in creating a learning environment where our trainees can succeed. We do this by treating our trainees with respect, agreeing on a group charter that holds us all accountable to each other for the way we behave and how we treat others. Our training programmes are a combination of theory and practical content delivered in an experiential style to meet the diverse learning styles of our trainees. By tailoring our approach to amplify the strengths and support the development needs of each individual, we earn trust, respect and motivate our trainees to strive to be their best. We celebrate diversity in all its forms, empower our trainees and graduates and equip them with the tools to succeed. 

Below are some great resources for employers, job-seekers, and educators on how to better accommodate, celebrate, and include those with Neurdiversities: