To be kind is more important than to be right. Many times, what people need is not a brilliant mind that speaks but a special heart that listens.
What is important is that we empower people at all levels of employment to have a voice and to receive appropriate support so that they can succeed. Enabling a conversation is key to ensuring the right help is available. Sometimes we close the conversation down or don’t even get started because we are worried that we may make a mistake. Our fear of getting it wrong and the consequences of that stop us even trying. This is crucial to developing a neuro-inclusive workplace where dialogue can happen. Dialogue, by definition, is a two-way street and no one person can be the expert in everything. You would not as an employer be expected to know everything about migraine or diabetes for example, so why do we think we need to know everything about dyslexia or autism? The person who has bravely decided on that day to tell you that they are dyslexic may also have been the same person having several sleepless nights and pacing up and down outside your door. You may be the first person they have decided to tell. Shutting down the conversation may mean it is 100 per cent harder to re-open it.
Neurodiversity is not a trait that one person has: we are all diverse. Neurodiversity as a concept is about the biological and genetic variations that exist across all society and have remained and not been bred out over time. There is also a growing acceptance that there must be a sound reason in society for the different types of cognitive processing to have remained. Neurodiversity is not one label or an exclusive club that only some people can join. It certainly should not be considered as the ability to segregate people into boxes. It doesn’t represent only one set of diagnoses, ie ADHD, dyslexia, developmental coordination disorder (dyspraxia), autism spectrum disorder or condition, for example, and not include cerebral palsy. There is no logic in this as cerebral palsy and DCD can often be difficult to separate.6 However, often it is portrayed in that way in that neurodiversity is X, Y and Z but not A, B and C.
When someone diverges from what is deemed as the dominant cognitive way of functioning/communicating/thinking we then say that this person is neurodivergent. However, using the term in this way may cause challenges of ‘otherness’ and sets people up as being either neurotypical OR neurodivergent, ie either sitting in one camp or another, when in reality people are far more complex and nuanced and cognition is far more than representing just one domain."