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Rubens’ Blog: Navigating Neurodiversity At Work

Published on: 10 Oct, 2022
Updated on: 10 Oct, 2022

Rubens King.

Rubens King currently works as an armed forces caseworker for young people, helping people find training, work experience, volunteering, and paid work. He also writes giving advice on mental health issues to promote equality, diversity and inclusion. Here he writes about neurodiversity.

Neurodiversity (ND) is a new term since 2000 which could be defined as a term to capture people who think differently. For example, due to mental health or a diagnosis like autism, dyslexia, attention deficit, schizophrenia and more.

The opposite, neurotypical is someone who processes information without such diagnosis’ impacting cognitive information processing function.

As someone with ND I bond better with other people with ND since there can be more understanding. However, I would argue there are countless people without a diagnosis implying the statistics are not representative of the actual figures of people with ND.

Catherine.

Catherine is someone with autism working for the Office of National Statistics who writes an engaging piece about the importance of sharing ND with an employer or ‘disclosing’ a disability.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/neurodiversity-in-the-workplace

Naturally, navigating neurodiversity throughout all stages of the candidate-employee lifecycle can be a learning process. Learning process since people are different and considering a tailored approach to individual needs rather than standardised format is essential, especially considering rights of those with protected characteristics identified in the Equality 2010 Act. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents

Oakleaf in Guildford can provide free employment support to those with or without a diagnosis if for example, anxious about next steps and may benefit from support. https://www.oakleaf-enterprise.org/referral/ 

For a focus on wellbeing, I’m All Ears are very helpful.

https://www.imallears.community/home

Applying for a job can be tricky for someone with ND. Some companies offer extra time for any online tests and offer the opportunity to ask for any adjustments which is a good start. Knowing which adjustments work best for you can be challenging. Working with an employment advisor can help with navigating these obstacles.

Mind matters is a free NHS service able to support with wellbeing. They can also signpost to the amazing Richmond Fellowship for employment advice upon request. 

https://www.mindmattersnhs.co.uk/how-can-we-help-you/refer-yourself 

One strategy to settle into work effectively is to ask for the induction process to be tailored. Whether this includes more breaks, more opportunities for questions or a copy of the plan, these simple measures can greatly support someone with ND during induction.

It may be helpful to apply for an access to work grant for fully funded in work support (providing you have joined in the last six weeks otherwise you may be asked to pay half the cost, which is still potentially positively life changing).  https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work/apply 

Hopefully leveraging some of these options will make it easier to interact in the workplace.

Rubens King also has his own blog site, Stay Fruity.

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