Neurodivergence: Building a better workplace

This Neurodiversity Celebration Week, we caught up with Amanda Ludlow, a Reader in Psychology, who specialises in neurodiversity at the University of Hertfordshire. She shares her tips on creating a better workplace for neurodevelopmental people.

Tell us more about your background in neurodiversity

A volunteering stint with Mencap in my teens led me to pursue a career in psychology and a desire to specialise in the field of neurodiversity. I have now studied and worked in the field of neurodiversity for over 20 years, and during that time I have had the absolute pleasure of meeting the most amazing people and charities.

I created the Psychology and NeuroDiversity Applied Research Unit (PANDA) in 2021, to create a hub to advocate for better support and services for individuals identifying as neurodivergent and their families.

We are so pleased to be celebrating neurodiversity week, alongside the local charity ADD-vance, who provide key support to individuals and families with ADHD and Autism. We should all celebrate neurodiverse strengths while accommodating and more importantly, not minimising, specific challenges that an individual may face.

While it is important to be familiar with some of the most common forms of neurodivergence, we need to remember that no two people are the same. There are likely to be many colleagues at work who self-identify as neurodivergent. We should embrace and create environments in which everyone thrives. 

How does workplace affect neurodevelopmental people/carers/children?

  • Open plan office spaces may be particularly stressful
  • Staff may need some reasonable adjustment accommodations (key information provided in multi format, more opportunities to multi-task).
  • Support with promotion (many neurodivergent individuals are not as good at putting themselves forward).
  • Appropriate adjustments at interview (interview questions provided in advance).
  • Parents/carers may need more flexible hours to accommodate children’s medical appointments/school refusal/sleep deprivation. Simply being able to join events online may provide more opportunities for inclusion.

What can we do to provide a better workplace

Provide flexibility, empathy, and a safe space for individuals to disclose what accommodations in the workplace would help them.

Get involved with our upcoming event 

Alongside local autism and ADHD charities, we are planning an online event in May where parents/carers can network with different stakeholder to support them through different transitions in their child’s life (school, university, employment). A young person’s event is planned for later in the year.


Popular Posts