Would you choose a neurodivergent individual to be your employee?
Studies have shown that most people would not, and they believe others wouldn’t either. As society becomes more aware of the needs of neurodivergent individuals, this shift in perspective is occurring too slowly. This shift is especially evident in education, where students who are neurodivergent are being given special accommodations that allow them to have the best chance of succeeding. This is great news for neurodivergent students, but what about those who are not in school? What happens when they want to enter the workforce?
It is quite unfortunate that many companies do not give equal opportunities to individuals based on neurodivergence, but this can be expected given the difficult nature of neurodivergent disorders. That being said, there are certain companies that actively seek out neurodivergent individuals. For example, Specialisterne is a company that specializes in finding positions for those with Asperger’s Syndrome and other autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This not only gives individuals with ASD an opportunity to be successful but it allows the company to benefit from the skills that these neurodivergent employees offer.
Neurodivergence is treated very differently depending on what type of disorder someone has. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is routinely misunderstood by those who are neurotypical, and as a result, those who have ASD often suffer from bullying and discrimination. While other types of neurodivergence, such as dyslexia or ADHD, do not cause the same stigma as ASD, they are still constantly misunderstood and mistreated by those who are neurotypical.
There is no easy solution to this problem, but society needs to become more aware of the struggles that neurodivergent individuals face on a daily basis. By broadening their perspective of neurodivergence, it might be possible for them to change their attitudes toward these individuals and not dismiss them so quickly. It is this lack of understanding towards neurodivergent people that leads many companies to miss out on talented employees who are neurodivergent.
It is important to realize that neurodivergence comes in many different forms, and people must understand the unique challenges these individuals face. Rather than focusing only on those who are diagnosed with ASD, companies should take into account all disorders that affect the brain because every individual has unique skills that benefit their company in different ways. By not only promoting the idea that neurodivergent individuals are capable of being successful but actively seeking them out to work for their companies, society can begin breaking down the barriers that prevent these individuals from having a better quality of life.
Does this mean that all neurodivergent people should be hired as employees?
Absolutely not. Just because someone is neurodivergent does not mean that they are qualified to be an employee, and just because someone has a disorder that affects their ability to function does not mean that they should automatically be given special accommodations. When it comes to hiring practices, experience and qualifications should always come first, and companies should only hire neurodivergent individuals when they have a specific need for a person who is neurodivergent.
Though it may be difficult, companies should do everything in their power to break down the barriers that exist between them and the rest of society. By being more accepting towards all types of neurodivergence, they will realize that there are plenty of individuals who have the qualifications and desire to be a valuable asset to their company. In order to accomplish this, however, companies need to educate themselves on neurodivergence and not discriminate against all forms of neurological difference. Individuals with ASD experience a unique set of challenges that other neurodivergent people do not face, but their struggles are no more or less important than those of someone who has ADHD.
Neurodivergence is an often misunderstood subject, but it can also be a wonderful opportunity for companies to find new employees. To allow this potential to go to waste is foolish and only creates more barriers that prevent neurodivergent individuals from reaching their full potential. Society needs to start taking steps to break down the barriers that exist between neurodivergent people and a better quality of life, and business is one of the most important sectors in starting this process.
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