To continue reading please register or login to your OHW+ account.
Organisations need to devote more thought to neurodiversity – a less visible and obvious form of diversity – and appreciate that intelligence comes in many forms. They can start by improving their recruitment processes and making themselves more accessible, argues Dr Louise Karwowski.
There is some way to go in ensuring equal opportunities. We are still battling with unconscious and institutional bias and working to create a better, more equal future. But one area that remains consistently under-represented and under-supported within the world of work is neurodiversity, and I’d argue that this is an area too often forgotten about or simply not taken seriously enough.
While many will be familiar with the more general term “neurodiversity”, there are still some common misunderstandings – firstly, about its prevalence in society, secondly about what it means and thirdly about the impact it can have on the daily life of an individual that processes information differently.
There tends to be the assumption that learning difficulties are something that only affect a small percentage of the population and that those with learning difficulties are identified and supported from a young age.
[pullquote]We are all on a spectrum of some sort with weaknesses and strengths in different areas. This is something that should not only be celebrated as we work towards a fairer future but normalised.”[/pullquote]
This leads people to assume that there are no longer significant barriers for those with a diagnosed learning difficulty. The bizarre decision taken by Network Rail to change the colour scale of its website to grey following Prince Philip’s death really demonstrated this lack of awareness and understanding because suddenly the site became challenging to use for those with vision impairment and colour blindness. For those with visual impairments, good colour contrast on a website is incredibly important, and without it they can find it very difficult to read the content. If everything is the same colour, there’s a loss of hierarchy for what is important on a website too.
Similarly, there continues to be a stigma attached to having a condition or a cognitive weakness which stems from the way education is delivered and the way we view difference in society as a whole. Things are certainly changing for the better, but many are still inclined to consider slow progression in learning as a result of laziness or low intell