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  • Writer's pictureJacqui Grant

Inclusiveness - Living with Autism and ADHD

Connect and Grow Magazine: May - June 2024 Edition 9


Following our theme of inclusiveness and multiculturalism, we cover how those with neurodivergent traits may struggle to communicate and feel included in different cultural situations or work with people from a different country.

 

Building inclusive environments in our workplaces, schools, and communities is not just about respecting cultural beliefs but truly understanding how each individual perceives the world. This understanding extends to those with neurodivergent traits, who may require specific accommodations to participate and contribute fully.



 





We are all individuals who have incredible strengths and gifts to share with others.









 

Meeting and communicating with people from different cultures can pose challenges for someone with neurodivergent traits, especially when the person has an accent. Processing what the person is saying without a different accent can sometimes be challenging. When an accent is involved, the neurodivergent person may struggle to understand the person. This can create a lot of workplace miscommunication, which can be an issue.

 

I have worked with many people who have neurodivergent traits, all different combinations and different levels of impact on the person's day-to-day life and have seen their struggles and strengths. I personally live with neurodivergent traits, and given that I am in my 50s, I had to learn to mask and adapt to fit in and be accepted.

 

Masking is not always a good thing, as it is extremely draining for the person, especially in a social setting; some days, it only takes a little for the person to feel overwhelmed and exhausted, which can impact the person for some time. Sometimes, it can take a few days to get over the impacts of masking.




Masking is a form of protection and is sometimes necessary; however, constantly masking all day will eventually have a negative impact on a person’s health and well-being.

 

It can also lead to a person becoming burnt out. ADHD burnout takes a long time for the person to recover from, and the recovery period can mean that they are unable to work, which can then impact other aspects of their life.



As more and more people become open to understanding the different ways people with neurodivergent traits process information and express themselves, and that on some days, they do need to keep to themselves a little more, it provides opportunities for people to be themselves more.

 

When a person can work the way that is best for them, as long as it follows the policies and procedures of the business, they do not have to mask. The person is likely to get more work completed and often in the timeframe that the workplace has set. This is the same for children in school when they feel safe and the environment is set up for them to do their schoolwork without the overwhelming feeling.


Education in the Workplace


When running education sessions for the business and speaking with them about Autism and ADHD, the traits that a person MAY have, we often discussed how some people who have a diagnosis of Autism or ADHD or both at times appear like they do not have those traits.

 

However, when people are hyper-focused on doing what they love, they are fully present and committed. The dopamine flows, and the person can do what is required, often ahead of timelines.


However, if the task is a little tedious or there is no real interest for me, I do my BAS; for some people I have worked with, it is getting the housework done. There is no dopamine, and finding the motivation to do the task is tough. Often, the person can find any reason not to do it or will complete it late.


As I shared with a team of allied health professionals who are in New York, USA recently about Autism and ADHD, it is essential to take the time to know each person and to know that some things they may be able to achieve today they may not be able to on another day.

Creating a neurodiverse, inclusive workplace is important for fostering diversity and inclusion. This can be achieved by providing reasonable accommodations such as flexible work hours, noise-cancelling headphones, or visual aids, promoting acceptance and understanding, and supporting individuals with neurodivergent traits.

 

Training employees on neurodiversity and implementing inclusive policies can also create a supportive and welcoming work environment for everyone. Please let us know if your business requires this so we can work with you and your team.


On a slightly different note, we have heard in the media again in the last week ( May 2024)  about the potential changes to NDIS for people who have a diagnosis of Autism and developmental delay that NDIS is not to be the only source of services, especially for children, yet at this time, mainstream and community support have nothing in place that is affordable for those living with Autism and ADHD, especially those who have other concerns such as intellectual disability and are non - verbal to name a few.

 

While we have come a long way, there is still much further.

 

Written by

 

Jacqui Grant

Like to know more about our Neurodiversity in Workplace education, book a call.




(C) 2024 Break Free Consultancy

Disclaimer: All information is accurate at the time or publication



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