Coronavirus and Neurodiversity

29 April 2020
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Caroline Turner, founder of Creased Puddle , a York based Neurodiversity training and consultancy company, has written a guest blog on the challenges and opportunities of neurodiversity during COVID-19.   

Caroline Turner

Well, we know what’s happened! I don’t have to tell you the general impact that Covid-19 is having on businesses both good and bad.  However, the devil is in the detail and at the heart of businesses are people and our employees.

As an employer of both Neuro-divergent (ADHD, Autistic and Dyslexic) and neuro-typical staff, I’m not going to lie.  I wasn’t ready for my management style to have such a shake up.  I’d got into a flow of sorts, a rhythm which worked.  I wasn’t ready to have to re-evaluate what I thought I knew, even with my knowledge and 20 odd years of management experience.

But now it’s here, and from this perspective, I like the challenge. I would go so far as to say, I’m thriving.  Once again, I’m out of my comfort zone, looking for solutions, researching the answers, seeking knowledge.  I’m getting it wrong, then right, then wrong again but each time I’m learning something new.

Take one of my colleagues, Steph. She’s Autistic, Dyslexic and has ADHD.  I have learnt more about her over the last two weeks than in the past three months.  I’ve found new ways to communicate with her about my needs and she is learning more about how I work.  She’s thinking of innovative ideas and ways to make us visible as a business and I’ve trained her in Zoom.  Steph’s writing a blog of her experience using dictation and I’m learning to check her understanding. 

As a team we are communicating over Zoom, WhatsApp, text, mail, shared areas, phone and we leave voiced up messages.  This is what the neuro-divergent have been asking for, for years.  For you, as a manager and a co-worker to pull back the fluff and turn down the noise so that the brains of our neuro-divergent workforce work better, more efficiently, with energy and purpose. 

So harness this opportunity to try new things, learn from it, record it and use it. We can learn lessons from this experience that will enhance us all. Read the handy guide “Empowering Neurodiversity in the Workplace during COVID-19” for tips and guidance as an employer and employee.

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