Neurodivergent - A Challenge or an atypical way of learning?
Individuals that are neurodivergent are masterminds in disguise. They just need a positive environment and a little extra help to reach that full potential despite learning challenges. Judy Singer, a sociologist with autism, popularized the term "neurodiversity" in the late 90s: It refers to the idea that certain brain development is a result of natural brain variances that can become a competitive advantage for corporates. Neurodivergence happens when someone's brain processes, learns, and /or behaves differently from what is considered "typical" or "standard".
There are many individuals who struggle at the workplace and tend to feel overwhelmed with basic paperwork. They may not understand why. Most of the time, adults who are dealing with learning challenges are undiagnosed and may be completely oblivious to their needs and blame their issues on their own inability. This can have an impact on professional choices, as well as low self-esteem and emotions of worth, which can lead to emotional and psychological problems including depression.
This may lead the person in giving up and feel embarrassed when they could have achieved their educational or persona goals with the correct help. Acquiring a diagnosis will enable someone with a learning challenge to receive the assistance they require in order to maximize their potential, enhance their social skills, find a rewarding job, and live independently. Without having a diagnosis and the appropriate help, a person may struggle with certain parts of daily life and have no idea why.
What is a learning difficulty?
Individuals that are neurologically wired differently have difficulty with a few things such as reading, writing, or spelling while not with others in standard reasoning, recalling, or organizing. However, with the right techniques and interventions, you can succeed at all of this and at the workplace and in your personal life.
The two most common neuro-divergent features are Dyslexia and ADHD but there are others too such as Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Non-verbal disabilities, Oral or Written language disorder and specific reading comprehension deficit.
I will be focusing on Dyslexia and ADHD as there are about 3 in 10 people who have dyslexia and ADHD. Dyslexia is a learning challenge that affects the way the brain processes and interprets information, the affected individuals may find difficulty in reading, writing, spellings due to not understanding phonetics, not being able to distinguish between right and left, difficulty in coping with information accurately, getting too overwhelmed with information, having to understand and communicate it, difficulty summarizing, memorizing and managing time.
Whereas individuals with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) deal with Brain fog, feeling confused or disorganized often, feeling mentally lost, feeling constantly fatigued, hyperactive (exhausted due to always having 1% battery and having to make it run throughout the day) more like the mind is always working and you’re not able to focus. Also often loses things such as keys, wallet, paperwork, eyeglasses, high impulsivity in behavior and other things like shopping, social skill issues and procrastination.
Many individuals with learning challenges are stigmatized prior to the Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and were characterized as "dumb," "mentally handicapped," or "lazy." These qualifications are a major struggle for many students to graduate from high school or college.
While learning disabilities might pose issues in the workplace for adults, there are possible benefits as well as actions adults can take to manage their difficulties. Focusing on strengths can not only contribute to decreasing stigma, but it can also help to build confidence and self-esteem.
Many neurodivergent individuals have numerous skills that sometimes go unnoticeable. A few of them include:
•They are frequently problem-solvers in a creative way. Their abilities in non-challenging areas are equivalent to, if not better than, those of other adults.
•They are frequently resourceful and can creatively use and adapt resources and techniques.
•They might have admirable qualities in areas like abstract reasoning, "big-picture" thinking, and empathy.
•Show high levels of passion and drive
•They can perceive certain kinds of visual information better than those without the condition. This skill can be useful in jobs like engineering and computer graphics
Adults with learning challenges may stumble, but with the right support systems in place, they can thrive at the workplace. Consciousness is a crucial ability for ensuring that support is available and present at times of need. It's time to talk about this taboo subject and spread awareness to yourself or individuals around you.
Rose Thompson - Behavioral Science Associate @ Bessern
Check out a this webinar on Thriving at Work despite ADHD or Dyslexia Performance in a different way!