Diversity in people is an opportunity to benefit from enhanced potential. Are we harnessing neurodiversity to influence, engage and represent the profession and the wider world of work?
When I became your IOSH President back in November 2022, I detailed key focus areas for my Presidential year – diversity being one of them.
Diversity – including neurodiversity specifically – is a huge opportunity for all of us. But are we really making the most of bringing everyone on board in a way that strengthens what we can do as a profession and are we properly representing ourselves as IOSH to the neurodiverse in our occupational safety and health (OSH) community?
We communicate in different ways
When we consider neurodiversity, we focus on how neurological differences are recognised and respected. We all process information and communicate in different ways and, for many people, labels – dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, autism or ADHD – help us to identify different and alternative ways of thinking.
According to the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), approximately 15-20% of the population has a neurological difference, and it hasn’t always been celebrated. But Neurodiversity Celebration Week (13-19 March) was founded by neurodiversity advocate Siena Castellon in 2018. This worldwide initiative challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about learning differences, styles and abilities.
We all have unique patterns of strengths and challenges
No matter what type of organisation you work for, you can always benefit from neurodivergent individuals – different thinkers. We all have unique patterns of strengths and challenges. I’m the father of an autistic daughter and we have navigated through her life together, learning, understanding and harnessing the individual traits that make her the person she is. And it is recognising and celebrating these strengths and talents that enable her and many others to flourish day-to-day.
Divergent thinking: exploring the world of neurodiversity
I am delighted to announce a new webinar series, ‘Divergent thinking: exploring the world of neurodiversity. The series offers an opportunity not only to develop an increased level of awareness and understanding of neurodiversity, but also to embrace neurodivergence and celebrate our ability to think and process information about the world around us differently.
Join me for the first of the series on 25 May 2023 as we kick off the series by exploring just what is meant by neurodiversity, and what it means for employers and individuals.