auticon: Supporting a neuro-diverse workforce

auticon: Supporting a neuro-diverse workforce
Published: 4 April 2022

As part of this year’s Autism Acceptance Week, the team from our I&D Consultancy were delighted to host an event alongside neuro-inclusion experts, auticon. Our guest speaker Kirsty Cook, Global Director – D&I Services at auticon, helped our audience understand more about what neurodiversity is and provided some useful and practical tips to help everyone begin their journey towards creating a neuro-inclusive work culture.

So, what is Autism?

Autism Spectrum Condition is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition.

A hidden condition, autism affects the way a person processes, interacts and perceives the world, but owing to a lack of physically seen traits, it often goes unnoticed as autism and therefore undiagnosed until much later in life.

The condition’s traits can include the way someone communicates and interprets communication, their memory, executive functioning, sensory challenges, logic, strong preference for structure and routine and hyper-focus, to name just a few.

But for every autistic individual, their strengths, challenges and traits as a result of their own experience of autism will present very differently, hence the term, spectrum. There’s diversity within autism, and support that works for one person may not be necessary or work for another.

Whether an autistic person experiences their condition as a disability or not is entirely dependent on the individual. Some people within the autistic community will not see their autism as disabling, instead, they see the environment and societal expectations as the limiting factor. Regardless, it is important to recognise that all autistic people are entitled to reasonable adjustments/accommodations, whether they have a diagnosis or not.

Supporting a neurodiverse workforce: A strengths-based model for inclusion and support

An autism diagnosis, or identifying with autism, is often hidden within the workplace; from the lack of diagnosis in females, masking, past discrimination, late diagnosis, to not knowing how to discuss the diagnosis with their peers or manager. auticon are working to break the stigma and celebrate the benefits of a neurodiverse team.

auticon is actively working to reduce unemployment rates amongst the neurodivergent community, autism in particular. Kirsty highlighted some of the strengths that our autistic colleagues can bring to the workforce:

  • Honesty
  • See things differently
  • Creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Analytical thinking
  • Accuracy
  • Pattern recognition
  • Factual mindset
  • Innovative thinking
  • Quality - perfectionism
  • Trend spotting
  • Retaining information

Supporting a neurodiverse workforce: A person-centric approach

auticon aims to help organisations become neuro-confident, neuro-accepting and ultimately, neuro-inclusive. Enabling neurodivergent employees to thrive and flourish whilst being themselves needs managers/D&I/HR teams with the confidence and tools to better support their individual needs.  

Kirsty recommends businesses take a person-centric approach to create neuro-inclusive workplaces.  

Her top tips for an inclusive workplace, include assessing and creating a bespoke approach across some of the following areas:

  • Environment
  • Equipment
  • Executive functioning
  • Information processing
  • Social communication
  • Workplace communication
  • Digital communication
  • Working practices

Remember:

  1. Individual before the label – avoid assuming what their diagnosis means for them.
  2. Universal accommodations that are inclusive for everyone, not just neurodivergent colleagues.
  3. Workplace assessments.
  4. Listen. Learn. Support.

About auticon

auticon is a social enterprise taking clients on a holistic journey to neuro-inclusion, with its autistic technology consultants at its heart.

Boost your neuro-confidence by working with our consultants.

Increase your neuro-acceptance with our training suite for your line managers, HR and D&I teams.

Become neuro-inclusive after receiving neuro-consultancy - one-to-one guidance, coaching and support to review your existing practices and policies with neurodivergence in mind.

About auticon’s Technology Consultants

auticon provides organisations with skilled professional technology consultants in the fields of business analytics, test automation, data governance, and complex software development projects – all of them on the autism spectrum.

auticon’s consultants are on the autism spectrum and have unique cognitive strengths, such as:

  • Attention to detail
  • Systematic approach to tasks
  • Logical analysis
  • Pattern recognition
  • Error detection
  • Sustained concentration

I&D Consultancy from Odgers Berndtson

You probably know Odgers Berndtson as an Executive Recruitment firm, the largest in the UK. Our mission is to leave no stone unturned in providing our clients with diverse and highly competent candidates for roles which shape our society.

Recruitment, however, is only one step of the journey to being Inclusive and Diverse, put simply you need to get, then promote and retain talent. If your culture is not Inclusive, then any new hires that are not enabled to be themselves will swiftly exit to organisations that embrace this.

Our Inclusion & Diversity Consultancy is:

  • Delivered by team members who have worked in I&D roles around the globe.
  • Action orientated, supplemented with tactics, tools and tips on how to make Inclusion a reality within your business.
  • Fun, interactive and memorable – because people are more likely to be engaged, remember the content and actually do what they commit to in the upskilling.
  • A combined, evidence based qualitative and quantitative approach to this business challenge.

Click here to find out more

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