Business Schools Breaking the Stigma Around Neurodiversity

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Neurodiversity

Neurodiversity, (referring to a variation in the human brain regarding sociability, learning, attention, and other mental functions) is now getting the attention it deserves from society. It is basically a state of mind in which people have neurological differences like dyslexia, ADHD, Autistic Spectrum, and others. Society is finally starting to accept it as a neurological difference rather than a disability and see neurodiverse people with a view point that brain differences are normal and not deficits.

Various business schools across the globe are taking initiatives in order to enroll people who think differently.  Stephanie Webster, a neurodiverse entrepreneur dealing with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder quit her job because of the stigma around ADHD. She used to feel insecure around her colleagues just because she used to think differently.

Neurodivergent people usually want to work in their own way and don’t want to get chained to anything and that’s how Stephanie Webster’s entrepreneurial journey began. In order to expand her business, she applied to London Business School. At the London Business School, contrary to Webster’s expectations, she actually felt comfortable disclosing her ADHD after a talk with an alumnus of the school.

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How Business Schools are Handling Neurodiversity?

Different business schools have started identifying neurodiverse students as an asset to society as they may have a weakness but everyone has some strengths of their own as well and their thought process is their strength. Schools have started adapting the learning process for the students with the help of professionals. They have also started giving an extra time of 25 minutes to the students for their exams and there is also a grade revision method that can help them in upgrading their grades through sympathetic marking. Many universities have started accepting neurodiversity as new frontiers of inclusion believes Sionade Robinson.

There is still a stigma around neurodiversity in many schools but as more people start disclosing their situation, it is getting a lot more normal than before. Almost 15% of the UK population is estimated to be neurodivergent but because of the stigma, there are lower rates of disclosure. In history, neurodiversity has always been considered negative and this is the reason for the stigma around it in many developed countries even today. Studies show that only 16% of autistic adults are employed in the UK. This shows that no matter how far we’ve come, there’s still a long way to go. EY, an accounting consultancy firm states that they find neurodiverse people excel in creativity, problem-solving and the company likes to recruit the untapped population as they believe their creativity can help to a great extent in solving customer problems. HEC Paris is also trying their best to make things as comfortable for all the students and as of now 1.7% of the students have disclosed a disability. They are making accommodations in their system to make things easy for neurodiverse students.

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Many officials state that the best solution for normalizing neurodiversity is to actually talk to them and understand what they feel and why they feel that. They only can give us the answers we seek by telling us how we can improve our system. Though big organizations and many business schools have started giving attention to this matter, there’s still a great deal to be done.

Characteristics of Neurodivergent people

Neurotypical persons are frequently compared to autistic people, therefore they may have:

  • A lack of babbling or pointing even after 12 months
  • Unable to make eye contact
  • No single words even after 16 months
  • No two-word phrases by the age of 2 years
  • No social responsiveness or smiling
  • Doesn’t respond to their names
  • Fixation on lining up toys or things, or watching toys move or spin again and over, repeating movements or sounds

Importance of Words in Neurodiversity

Advocates for neurodiversity fight for language that is inclusive and nonjudgmental. While many disability advocacy organizations prefer person-first language (“a person with autism,” “a person with Down syndrome”), a study has revealed that the majority of autistic people prefer identity-first language (“a person with autism,” “a person with Down syndrome”) (“an autistic person”). As a result, rather than forming assumptions, it is advisable to inquire explicitly about a person’s preferred language and manner of speech. Clinicians need to be aware of neurodiversity and use polite language in order to treat the mental and physical health of people with neurodevelopmental variations.

Embracing Neurodiversity in Workplace

The exclusion of people with neurodevelopmental disabilities can be caused by stigma, a lack of awareness, and a lack of adequate infrastructure (such as office arrangements or staffing structures). Inclusion for all people can be improved through understanding and accepting neurodiversity in communities, schools, healthcare settings, and businesses. It is critical that we all work together to create a welcoming environment for neurodiversity, recognizing and emphasizing each person’s unique skills and talents while also offering assistance for their peculiarities and needs.

How to make Workplaces more Neurodiversity friendly?

Make tiny changes to an employee’s workspace to satisfy any sensory needs, such as

  • Sound Sensitivity: Offer a quiet break area, disclose expected loud noises (such as fire drills), and provide noise-canceling headphones.
  • Tactile: Allow for changes to the standard work uniform.
  • Movement: Allow for the use of fidget toys, additional movement breaks, and flexible seating.
  • Communication style: Avoid sarcasm and provide concise verbal and written instructions for the tasks.
  • Social etiquette: Inform people on appropriate workplace/social manners, and never presume that someone is breaking the rules or being rude on purpose.
  • Be kind and patient with them.

FAQs

What are the examples of Neurodiversity?

Neurodiverse conditions include ADHD, Autism, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, and Tourette’s syndrome. They’re diagnostic terms that describe various ways of thinking, learning, processing and behaving.

What is a Neurodiverse person?

The term “neurodiverse” refers to a group of people in whom some individuals are neurodivergent. A neurodivergent person has aberrant neurological development and status, which is usually seen as abnormal or excessive.

What is the Neurodiversity test?

The purpose of this exam is to see if adults have neurodiverse or neurotypical features. Prior to a final diagnosis, the neurodiversity classification can be used to provide a valid indicator of autism spectrum features.

What are the symptoms of Neurodivergent people?

Difficulty in reading and writing, clumsiness, difficulty to cope with crowds, social situations, bright lights, hard to concentrate, and remaining still.

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