Effective support is a really important element of enabling neurodivergent individuals to flourish at work. It’s important to take a person centric approach, here’s a few top tips to get you thinking.
Sometimes there is that monumental task in front of you and you just don’t know where to begin, so you just avoid it – we’ve all been there! With neurodiversity, a lot of tasks can seem like that, so it is helpful if managers can support to break down projects into smaller tasks to be completed in order. Written step-by-step instructions are best, as is checking in that they are clear and understood. Neurodivergent individuals often welcome this approach as logical and helpful. However, of course, the best approach is to have an open and honest conversation and ask the individual how best they prefer to receive instructions.
Sometimes the way information is presented can be a barrier to neurodivergent individuals. Large amounts of text, a lot of white or pale text on coloured backgrounds, and information presented in a non-linear fashion can be really challenging to decipher.. The creative energetic presentation of some in-depth data that breaks up ‘death by PowerPoint’ in a meeting, might leave your neurodivergent team members confused and unable to follow the information and structure. We’re not saying the creative presentation shouldn’t happen (no-one needs death by PowerPoint), but make sure the information is also provided in an easy-to-digest format for those who need it.
Due to their diligence and attention to detail, (why do you think neurodivergent individuals make such good coders?), some individuals with neurodifferences may need a bit more time than others to complete work. Such attention to detail might require slightly more time for an individual to complete a task, but it is an investment worth making – once done the task is usually completed to a very high standard.
It seems obvious, but the best thing a manger can give a neurodivergent employee is adequate one-to-one support. Of course, all good managers do this with their employees, and as a result they flourish and develop within their roles. In very busy times, or in fast-moving teams though, the weekly one-to-one can sometimes be pushed back – ‘Do you have anything urgent you need to raise? ‘, ‘No, me neither and my diary is jam packed today – shall we do next week? You can of course grab me anytime if you need anything.’ A week rolls into two and suddenly stress and anxiety is increased because the mechanism for planning and setting targets has been lost and for the individual, the day-to-day has suddenly become a massive insurmountable task again.
Content provided by Lexxic.