The conversation around diversity in the work place usually concentrates on visible differences; race, religion and physical disabilities. More companies need to embrace, nurture and facilitate those with hidden disabilities.
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I’m Leena and I have Autistic Spectrum Condition.
I think society at large needs to be more inclusive and understanding of those who are differently wired, or “neurodiverse.” Unfortunately, according to research, the majority of people who are neurodiverse are afraid to disclose because of the stigma attached to such conditions.
I am currently working at the BBC, managing a project looking into Neurodiversity in the workplace which is about promoting the advantages of having a differently wired brain…focusing on the strengths, talents, aptitudes and abilities of individuals with neurological conditions such as Autism, ASC, AD(H)D, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia and Learning Disabilities.
Until recently the disadvantages and negatives of these conditions have been focused on, while the special talents that often come with these conditions are overlooked. It’s about dispelling the myths, perceptions and even prejudices people may have about these conditions, especially in employment.
Speaking of my own experience, it was a difficult transition leaving the nurturing environment of the education system to move into the wilderness of employment. You are suddenly expected to be cured of your condition and become a neuro-typical adult.
Take for example the job application and interview process – I’m a visual thinker and I would say that my methods of reasoning are mainly in images rather than verbal reasoning which is about understanding concepts in the structure of words. So when I found out that they don’t like you to apply using pictures – one recruiter who dealt with my visual application was surprised to say the least – they believed my application was a wind-up and unsurprisingly I didn’t get that job. However to me, a picture really does say a thousand words.
The first barrier is having to complete an application form, the second barrier is having to suffer a face-to-face interview. To my spectrum brain both of these generate for me a lot of anxiety and a great deal of frustration, which translates into having to face a zombie apocalypse