What is Neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity is the human diversity of our mind and brain, following many differences in us as individuals, our brain function and behavioural traits.

Neurodiversity in the workplace

The most typically occurring conditions in the workplace are classed as disabilities under the Equalities Act 2010.  These are listed below;

Dyslexia: A general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, dyslexia does not affect intelligence.

Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (formerly known as Dyspraxia): DCD (Dyspraxia) is a common disorder that affects movement and co-ordination, DCD does not affect intelligence but can affect tasks requiring balance, sports, learning to drive and your fine motor skills such as writing and using small objects.

ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder): Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour.

Autism and Asperger’s syndrome: Autism is generally characterized by social and communication difficulties and by repetitive behaviours. Often, severe forms of ASD are often diagnosed in the first two years of a child's life, but high-functioning individuals may not be diagnosed until much later in life

Tourette Syndrome: Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics.

Acquired Brain Injury: Refers to any type of brain damage that happens after birth. Causes of ABI include disease, blows to the head, alcohol and drug use, or oxygen deprivation.

Chronic neurological conditions: Is any disorder of the nervous system. Structural, biochemical or electrical abnormalities in the brain, spinal cord or other nerves can result in a range of symptoms. There are many recognized neurological disorders, some relatively common, but many rare.

Mental Health: Mental health is an impairment of mental functioning that is often accompanied by distress.

 

Employers are obliged to put in place “reasonable adjustments” for employees with disabilities under the Equalities Act 2010.

Those with neurodiversity have been finding ways around this since they were children and will have found different coping strategies to employ, this can in turn manifest as depression, anxiety and low self-esteem and the feeling that they are not as good as others, slower and need more time to understand instructions. Stress is big factor associated with the difficulties highlighted below and this may be a trigger for seeking help.

The more common difficulties of a neuro diverse nature that junior doctors/dentists are referred for are;

  • Time management
  • Planning and prioritising
  • Organisation
  • Distractions
  • Working Memory weaknesses
  • Processing Speed

 

How the PSW can help:

The PSW can offer a screening to determine if there are any strong indicators of a neuro diverse condition, this is a series of 40 questions based on the above difficulties and how you function. This then determines if there is a need for a full cognitive assessment to investigate your possible neuro diversity, the assessment is performed by an Educational Psychologist and you will be given a report detailing their findings.

 

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