According to Forbes, Reuters reports that 80% of people on the autism spectrum are unemployed or underemployed, globally.
While the exact figure is still being debated—largely due to the non-disclosure or biases in diagnosis—based on available data, the global neurodiverse population is currently at 15-20%.
Even though the data may be subject to change, they do give organisations a good idea about autism and neurodiversity in the workplace.
It’s long been believed that organisations that make neurodiversity a part of their D&I strategy see notable spikes in their performance, engagement, and profits. Aside from these, increases in innovation, psychological safety, and communication are all great for fostering inclusive cultures.
As more employers try to be inclusive, it’s important to understand that neurodiverse employees have their own journeys where they try to adjust and find the best ways to work.
This is why a culture focused on strength may be the best way to help neurodiverse employees shine and employers can focus on their employees’ potential by taking an interest in what they offer.
While we can all identify with the following strengths in varied degrees, the unique neural pathways of neurodiverse and autistic employees mean that they can naturally excel in these areas more than neurotypical employees.
Neurodivergent people have an affinity for creative thinking. This gives them the ability to think outside of the box and come up with innovative and bold ideas. They view the world in a different light and have the capacity to see things that others may not.
One of the more common traits of neurodiverse individuals is that they don’t have a filter when they speak. While this can create uncomfortable situations, it can also create an open forum for saying things that others may not be comfortable saying themselves.
Neurodiverse individuals have non-conventional ways of thinking and their unique life experiences give them a well-rounded perspective that can increase the diversity of thought among their team members, which leads to teams that are more diverse and tolerant.
Some neurodiverse individuals have incredible long-term memory and the ability to hyper-focus on individual details. These two traits allow them to make connections between seemingly unrelated things and remember the finer details that tie everything together.
Neurodiversity has an impact on parents who have the responsibility of taking care of their neurodiverse children. Our guide—autism and neurodiversity: how to support parents with neurodiverse children—explores what neurodiversity is and what it means for children and families living with autism and neurodevelopmental disorders.
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