What is Neurodiversity? FAQs

What is Neurodiversity?

“Neurodiversity” is an umbrella term which covers a lot of conditions. Essentially it means that there are differences in the way the brain is functioning.

For example, dyslexic brains process sounds differently from ‘neuro-typical’ brains. If someone was neuro-different then their abilities would vary. They would have specific strengths and specific weaknesses. This is shown on the graph below as a spiky line.

 

Neurodiversity is more commonly associated with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD and Autism Spectrum Condition.

Where the spikes are tends to tell us what the condition might be, as well as other tests and  background.  For example, people with Dyspraxia (also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder or DCD) tend to have outstanding verbal communication skills, whereas they might not be scoring as highly on 3D skills as someone with ADHD.

Wider neurodiverse thinking styles include Anxiety and Depression.  People with Multiple Sclerosis, Tourette Syndrome and brain injuries can also experience neurodiverse thinking, as long term illnesses can affect abilities such as memory and attention.

Neurodiversity is also referred to as neurodivergence, however we do not use this term as divergence reminds us of ‘deviancy from a norm’, which has historical be associated with exclusion and control.  We prefer diverse as it makes the point about difference without a negative connotation.

What long term health conditions affect thinking and work performance?
The following conditions can also result in neurodiversity:

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Lyme Disease
  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • ME
  • Cancer treatment

…. and many more.  We can help where the conditions are affecting thinking and work performance.  This usually most noticeable in the following areas:

Memory / Stress management / Concentrating / Time management

Our coaching program can help with all of these.

 

What is Dyspraxia (also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder, DCD)

Dyspraxia literally means problems with movement.  This is often due to the parts of the brain that process movement, and 3D thinking, being less active.  Dyspraxia is also, however, associated with high verbal abilities. The brain differences can cause the following difficulties starting work and succeeding in the workplace:

  • Difficulty using equipment and learning new processes
  • Difficulty managing time and organising resources
  • Difficulty following sequences of instructions
  • Stress!

Our clients benefit from learning more about their strengths, rather than taking them for granted.  Together, we will help to weave new ways of working and strategies for communicating that we ‘de-stress’ situations and help our clients feel more in control.

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia literally means ‘difficulties with words’.  However, modern science has discovered that this is a symptom, not a cause.  Dyslexia comes from difficulties in processing and remembering sounds, and difficulties in putting details in order.  This is often balanced by strengths, for example 3D visual thinking and visual or long term memory.

Many of our clients don’t realise that the problems they are having finding work or achieving their best are due to their dyslexia.  Our research shows that the following issues are most common for our clients:

  • Memory (92%)
  • Organisational Skills (82%)
  • Time management (78%)
  • Stress management (67%)
  • Spelling (67%)
  • Reading (54%)

The memory difficulties can cause people to struggle to concentrate in an open plan office, forget verbal instructions and lose track easily in meetings.  Our clients or their managers typically think these problems are due to lack of motivation or being ‘scatty’ – this causes a lot of conflict!

At Genius Within we help you to find targeted solutions and strategies for the dyslexic difficulties in a workplace context.  We also help you identify your dyslexic strengths, the ones you have been taking for granted!  Playing to your strengths can improve your career plans and work performance very quickly…..

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder comes from the parts of the brain that control attention and concentration working slower than others.  Like dyslexics, many people with ADHD also have strong visual skills and high levels of alertness.  These differences can result in the following work related difficulties:

  • Lack of attention to detail
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Taking on too much and completing too little
  • Difficult relationships and seeming rude to others

Many of our clients find that with the right support and strategies they can slow down long enough to capture their ideas and creativity whilst still fitting into the processes of recruitment and job success. Self awareness, dealing with excess energy and channeling productivity all combine to solve the problems and allow people with ADHD to fulfill their potential.

What are Autistic Spectrum Condition and Asperger’s Syndrome?

Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) and Asperger’s are part of a range of neurodiversity that affect the way we communicate.  Whilst people with Autism and Asperger’s may seem quite introverted and even ‘blank’, the truth is that the internal world is often quite busy!  Autistic brains have a lot more going on in processing the senses, which makes colors, sounds, smells and feelings seem brighter, louder and stronger than they would do otherwise.  People with ASC are very quick to process all this information and have great skills in being detail conscious and ordered.  These differences can result in the following difficulties at work:

  • Over focusing on certain aspects of the role and getting stuck in detail
  • Difficulty following instructions that are open to interpretation
  • Difficulty communicating verbally, particularly in groups
  • Over stimulation and the need for quiet, calm space = stress!

Our approach to all our work is to build on strengths to solve problems.  An active analytic brain can quickly develop self awareness and learn strategies for overcoming difficulties.

We’ve worked with many clients and supported them to communicate well with potential employers and line managers, adjusting their work environments so that they can thrive.

What are Acquired Brain Injuries?

Acquired brain injuries occur after accidents or illnesses and can cause difficulties similar to neurodiversity such as dyslexia or ADHD. This might be the result of a stroke, a tumour, head injury or surgery.

It depends which bit of the brain is affected, but we regularly see clients who need work focused support with:

  • Memory
  • Organisation
  • Time management
  • Concentration
  • Communication
  • Planning and Prioritising

The brain is a wonderful thing and even when some parts have been damaged, we can find a work around.  By learning to rely on the areas not affected by the injury, our clients develop strategies to compensate for their new difficulties.  This may take time to bed in, but our end goal is always to ensure that we are getting the most we can from the strengths we have.