Are we commoditising Neurodiversity in the Workplace?

In recent years, neurodiversity has become a buzzword within the business world. Although companies are increasingly looking to recruit members of the neurodivergent community, it is unclear if we are truly building an inclusive workforce.

“… the unemployment rate for neurodivergent adults is three times the rate for people with a disability and eight times the rate for non-disabled adults.”1

The rates of unemployment amongst the neurodivergent community are undoubtedly high; however, current efforts to address this risk commoditising neurodivergent individuals. Neurodivergent ‘superpowers’ are touted as justification for making workplaces more neurodivergent-friendly. Whilst it is true that many neurodivergent individuals display ‘spiky profiles’, in which they demonstrate above average abilities within specific areas, removing barriers to employment should not require justification and is a moral responsibility. This also places undue pressure on neurodivergent individuals to excel beyond their neurotypical colleagues, when they already face the additional burdens of tackling barriers at both work and home. For example, autistic individuals are more likely to die prematurely.2 Furthermore, studies suggest that as many as 70% of autistic children and 80% of autistic adults report at least one mental health condition.3

Please stop putting a price tag on our heads! Value us as people.

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