Blog written by Nathan Selman, Aerospace Engineering Degree Apprentice, BAE Systems 

Neurodiversity Celebration Week takes place between 13 – 19 March and aims to bring about worldwide neurodiversity acceptance, equality and inclusion in schools and workplaces.

What is Neurodiversity and Neurodivergence as a whole?

Neurodivergence means a difference in the way a person’s brain functions, the way someone’s brain functions is often called their ‘neurotype’, and the opposite of neurodivergent is neurotypical.

Neurodiversity is an inclusive environment in which people with a number of different neurotypes, for example a mix of neurotypical and neurodivergent people, function together.

This can apply to workplaces, schools, homes, hospitals, or any other environment in which the need to cooperate exists. A neurodiverse working environment can often bring with it a number of advantages, both on a personal and business level.

How Can We Create a More Inclusive Environment?

Primarily, making an effort to include neurodivergent individuals in the workplace introduces new ideas, new ways of thinking and new solutions to problems that may have otherwise been far more difficult to solve.

As well as this, having an inclusive work culture means that neurodivergent individuals can be their true selves and feel more comfortable proposing ideas, interacting with others and completing their work.

It is important to realise that every neurodivergent person is different, and whilst some may not need much support in the workplace (if any), some will require more significant accommodations to help them function at their best. These kinds of accommodations can include (but are not limited to):

  • Wearing headphones at work
  • Providing more specific instructions
  • Give advanced warning of changes to plans or routines
  • Providing areas with reduced stimuli, for example reduced lighting or less noise

Though far from exhaustive, this list can give an idea of the small changes that can be made to help provide a more inclusive environment for neurodivergent individuals. If ever in any doubt about what sort of accommodations a neurodivergent colleague or employee may want or need, you can always ask them.

How can we help?

This Neurodiversity Celebration Week (and beyond), take a moment to have a look at ways neurodiversity can benefit the workplace, the contributions of neurodivergent individuals and think if there are any ways you could help to make your workplace a more inclusive one.