Recognizing Neurodiversity Celebration Week

Scott Coleman-Allan

~ 3min read

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~ 3min read

Neurodiversity is a term often used to describe those with Dyslexia, DCD (Dyspraxia), Dyscalculia, Autism, and ADHD. But more broadly, it’s about people who think differently.

The days of considering neurodiversity as a disability are long gone. Instead, it’s about recognizing the strengths people bring as well as the unique challenges they face.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week aims to bring about worldwide neurodiversity acceptance, equality and inclusion in schools and workplaces. It’s a chance to shine a light on the incredible people who are achieving great things.

In celebration of the week, we asked Kat Snodgrass, Laura Sparks and Tori Capehart from Wiley to share their experiences and advice for others.

> Kat Snodgrass, Director of Global Talent Pool:

"I am neurodivergent with Dyslexia.
My Dyslexia allows me to look at problems or projects in different ways to my neurotypical colleagues. I don’t get weighed down by the detail and can focus on the bigger picture plan of what we want to achieve. I like to keep things simple, so when collaborating with people that are deeper thinkers, we tick all boxes required to deliver.
My advice for other people who are neurodivergent is leave yourself a little time between meetings to reset your mind for the next. I work well off visuals and will often whip up a quick PowerPoint so I have a list of everything I want to cover. Putting together really clear actions and follow-up points after meetings helps me keep on track and I think colleagues value having the same direction.
Advice to neurotypicals is try and keep meetings to 45 minutes max and don’t run over. Focus can waiver and you want to give everyone time between their next meeting to get prepared.”

> Laura Sparks, Director, Internal Communications and Colleague Engagement:

“I am neurodivergent with ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Being neurodiverse has helped me advance through my career with the trademark leadership skills of empathy, resiliency, and strategic thinking. I am not only able to better support and relate to the people around me, but I am able to help folks take a step back to look at the broader picture.
The 'only handle it once' philosophy has worked well in my home life and I have been working to crack the code for applying it at work. At home, I find this useful if I am tidying up around the house. I pick something up and don't put it down again until it is put where it belongs. This helps me stay on course and prevents me from abandoning one task to entertain another.
I don't know how practical this is, but I would encourage colleagues and leaders to adopt ways of working that assumes that *everyone* is neurodivergent. Inclusion first.”

> Tori Capehart, Copyeditor and Editorial Assistant:

“I’m neurodivergent with ADHD.
The strengths I have associated with my ADHD include excellent problem-solving skills and the ability to triage different situations; my point of view can quickly adapt when provided context and information, which is great for interacting with other coworkers and understanding any needs they have; and an innate joy for learning new things!
My advice for others who are neurodivergent is to find a community of people within your job who will understand you, whether they too share the same condition or have a loved one who is in the neurodiverse community. You must also know your worth and know that you are not alone. Take stock of what you ‘must’ do and be mindful of what motivates you to get those things done.
Take stock of your habits or general movements throughout the day, then pair an existing habit with a new habit or with a task you want to get done. Find an accountability-buddy that will help hold you accountable for work as well as rest. Taking time to rest and recover is as important as the work itself, especially if you’re prone to working yourself into the ground. 
Remember, your mental health always comes first.

> Scott Coleman-Allan

Scott is the Director of Global DE&I, Talent & Strategy at mthree. For the past 12 years, Scott’s specialisation has centered on refining talent acquisition methods and driving impactful DE&I initiatives across various organisations across the globe.


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