Building And Supporting Neurological Diversity: What’s Next?

When it comes to building and supporting neurological diversity in the IT channel, there are numerous ways to strategize around increasing equity and inclusive leadership. Utilizing metrics, internal polling and organizational focus groups are a wonderful way to start. But what about tangible ways to increase representation within our workforce and leadership? And more importantly, how can organizations make their neuroinclusion efforts sustainable in the long term?

What Is Neuroinclusion?

As previously outlined in Keeping it Neuro (Diverse), it is estimated that 15 percent to 20 percent of the world’s population exhibits some form of neurodiversity. Examples can range from autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to dyslexia and Tourette Syndrome. Also included are post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder.

Neuro diversity as its connection to inclusion is key to understanding and improving the employee life cycle. If one of the goals is psychological safety for all, then understanding the unique challenges faced by those with neurodistinction can help leaders, organizations and team members make appropriate accommodations and adjustments that lead to better organizational equity.

Where Can inclusive Leaders Start?

A place to begin is selecting a specific area of neuorinclusion like ASD. As a developmental condition that impacts how people communicate and interact with others, understanding ASD and making organizational accommodations for those with the distinction can lead to improved organizational communication overall. Making in-person or on-camera meetings optional, for example, may allow for those who prefer written communication to be more engaged in problem-solving. It could also assist those with ASD who often have unique social skills and differing understandings of body language.

What’s Next?

Now that you have identified a few ways to include those with ASD, how do you make these accommodations sustainable for the long term? My suggestion: Do not do it alone. This is a suitably ideal time to put down the rugged individualism of the past for collaborative, resource- filled solutions. Simply put: If you are looking to make long-term improvements and changes, make sure to utilize resources that can assist you, your organization, and the teams within them.

Enter organizations like Next for Autism, a New York-based organization focused on continuously answering the question: What’s next for people with autism? One of those focuses is driving autism inclusion within the corporate sphere. By focusing on the ways those with ASD are supported by and connected to their communities, the nonprofit combines educational resources and operational support.

“From an organization perspective, we really want to teach them skills to build an inclusive workplace,” said Abby Jayroe, senior vice president of strategic operations at Next for Autism. “Additionally, we are really eager to help [students entering the workforce] to find the right people to talk to at the end of the day” through the mentor program launching this June, said Jayroe.

By connecting with nonprofit organizations like Next for Autism, solution providers in the IT channel can build a new talent pipeline and encourage empathy within their business.

“Empathy adds ‘oomph’—like, ‘Oh, I’m going to do this now,’” concluded Jayroe. It helps organizations sustain what’s next.

If you’re interested in connecting with Next for Autism on its co-mentorship program connecting aspiring professionals with autism to established professionals in their fields of interest, please contact me directly. It would be my honor to build a more neuroinclusive future alongside your organization.

Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash