Study highlights “significant lack of understanding” of neurodivergent colleagues

Three in five (60 per cent) employees with autism believe that people in their workplace behave in a way that excludes neurodivergent colleagues, a major study has revealed.

However, just three in 10 (29 per cent) neurotypical colleagues believe that they act differently towards colleagues with conditions such as autism, dyspraxia, and dyscalculia, suggesting a “gulf” between the lived experience of neurodivergent employees and the perceptions of them.

Likewise, just a third (32 per cent) of managers and leaders say they would be comfortable hiring someone with autism, suggesting that few employers are aware of the advantages of working with a neurodivergent colleague.

Furthermore, less than one in three (27 per cent) employers were certain that their organisation’s diversity and inclusion policies referenced people with neurodivergent conditions.

The research, published by the Institute of Leadership & Management, adds to the growing body of evidence pointing towards a “significant lack of understanding and awareness” of neurodivergent colleagues in the workplace.

Commenting on the findings, Kate Cooper, Head of Research, Policy and Standards at The Institute of Leadership & Management, said: “It’s apparent that while there’s a perceived level of understanding of neurodivergents and their requirements in organisations there is actually a gulf between the lived experience of neurodivergents and the perceptions of those experiences held by neurotypical people.”

According to the latest statistics, an estimated one in seven people in the UK have a neurodivergent condition, which also include Tourette Syndrome and ADHD.

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