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Embrace a spectrum of abilities with a neurodivergent-inclusive workplace

July 27, 2023

In today’s rapidly evolving workplace, diversity and inclusion has emerged as essential values for organizations seeking to create an environment that celebrates individual differences. Within this conversation, neurodiversity is just coming up. It is estimated that 15%-20% of the world population exhibits some form of neurodivergence. 

What is neurodiversity?

Diversity efforts can focus on factors such as race, gender, and ethnicity. Neurodiversity recognizes and values natural variations in the human neurological functioning, challenging the notion that there is a “normal” or “ideal” brain.

Neurodiversity recognizes neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, and others. By understanding the significance and implementing inclusive practices, businesses can better support neurodivergent employees.

  • ASD: A developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. Often have problems with social communication and interaction, and restricted or repetitive behaviors or interests. 
  • Dyslexia: Language-based learning disability. Refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulty with language skills, particularly reading. This can include identifying the separate speech sounds within a word and/or learning how letters represent sounds, concluding to the reading difficulties. 
  • ADHD: One of the most common mental disorders. Symptoms include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It is considered a chronic and debilitating disorder. 

Around 1% of the population is autistic, roughly 2% has ADHD, and up to 20% may be dyslexic. 

neurodivergent workplaces

Neurodivergent employee traits

Creating a neurodiverse-friendly workplace offers numerous advantages for both individuals and organizations. Neurodivergent employees often bring unique traits, such as creativity and innovation. Because neurodiverse people face many challenges throughout their lives, they also create new and unique solutions and perspectives to problem-solving. Here are some more traits that are competitive advantages for neurodiverse employees:

  • Enhanced team dynamics
  • Diverse perspective
  • Broader market reach
  • Discovering patterns and trends
  • Hyperfocus and attentive 

It has also been shown that these employees have an increased hardiness to criticism. This could be examined and canvassed from teachers and peers before being diagnosed. 

There are many famous people who are neurodivergent, Albert Einstein (dyslexia), Bill Gates (dyslexia and ADHD), and Tim Burton (autism).  

By recognizing and leveraging these strengths, organizations can create an inclusive work culture that harnesses the full potential of neurodivergent minds, leaving to enhance creativity, productivity, and overall success. 

Support neurodivergent workers in the office

Even though neurodivergent employees can offer successful traits to the workplace, these employees also need accommodations due to their condition. Applying these accommodations into the business can also benefit not only neurodivergent employees, but to everyone. This can include, but not limited to:

  • Flexibility/mental health days/PTO
  • Different workplaces/quiet spaces
  • Mentors
  • Health insurance
  • Supportive management
  • Clear expectations and structure
  • Visual aids and organizational tools

Ensure that employees gain adequate healthcare support. It is crucial for neurodivergent employees to thrive. Whether that be extending your prescription plans for ADHD employees, or coverage of therapy can help neurodivergent employees feel supported. 

Accessibility at WEX

WEXccessbility was launched in 2019 with primary focus on supporting individuals with disabilities and acquiring knowledge and resources to help WEX employees. WEX represents any and all employees impacted by disabilities. This program highlights promoting awareness and advocating for accessibility by building a safe community. 

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The information in this blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, you should consult your own legal counsel, tax and investment advisers. 

WEX receives compensation from some of the merchants identified in its blog posts. By linking to these products, WEX is not endorsing these products.

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