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3 key ways to improve neurodiversity in the workplace

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This number, far below the 25% of people in the workforce who identify as disabled, according to a BCG survey, reveals a hesitancy to disclose.

Dr. Hala Annabi, associate professor of information science at the University of Washington, specializes in neuro-inclusivity in organizations — particularly how to recruit, retain and advance individuals with autism. ADHD, dyslexia, OCD and Tourette’s syndrome are other examples of neurodiversity.  

“Most employers that I talk to state that they wish that more employees would disclose and engage with them, so that they can provide the right support,” Annabi told HRD.

To address hesitancy around disclosure, Annabi identified three distinct areas that HR leaders can focus on to increase neuro-inclusivity in their workplaces. Awareness and action around these areas can help facilitate the disclosure process and take the onus off the individual to normalize neuro-inclusion.

1. Fear of stigma around neurodiversity

Fear of judgement and “self-concept barriers” are especially present for older employees who may have been diagnosed later in life, and who may have experienced any number of negative reactions to their divergence throughout their professional careers. Because of those experiences, they may simply not trust organizations enough to disclose. And, Annabi says, their fears are founded.

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