Daniel Aherne once worked with a woman that had been considered mute. She didn’t speak. The assumption was that she couldn’t (or wouldn’t). The truth was that she needed time to process an answer. Up until now, people had asked questions; the woman didn’t reply; so, within a few seconds, the person would ask another one; and so people assumed she was mute. So Daniel learnt to count to 15 and give her time to answer. He made a simple adjustment and found a person that had plenty to say, but just wasn’t given the time to say it.
We heard many more stories like this.
We learnt more about what it means to be Neurodiverse.
Why you need to think of it less as a disability, more as a strength.
We learnt that people with dyslexia show strong entrepreneurial and problem-solving traits.
No wonder 20% of entrepreneurs are dyslexic. Yet only 1% of CEOs.
Maybe CEOs should study what dyslexia could do for them!
We learnt that people with autism are strong problem-solvers with an exceptional eye for detail.
Yet often struggle with the unwritten rules of work.
And will often struggle in the ‘group exercise’ of a graduate recruitment process.
We learnt that people with dyspraxia have strong people skills and creativity.
People like Daniel Radcliffe!!
We learnt that people with ADHD have periods of intense focus.
Yet do we ever consider that they may not be suited to a typical 9-5 working day?
Most of all, we learnt that the neurodiverse can think in ways that neurotypicals can’t – and that can be so valuable to your organisation, in ways that most of us just don’t appreciate.
It’s not simply about doing the right thing or box-ticking. It’s about understanding the real and valuable skills that the neurodiverse can bring to your organisation.
But to do all of this, we need to adjust our own behaviour, our own bias and our own understanding.
We need to be brave and we need to stand up for things that matter.
Because when we stand up, we stand out.
And isn’t that what makes people want to come and work for us?