Report Launch: Neurodiverse voices: Opening Doors to Employment – WACReport

achieveability logo

This is a groundbreaking report by the Westminster AchieveAbility Commission.  We are proud to be associated and quoted with this important report for all sectors but particularly for us the Heritage, Arts and Cultural Sector.  It is also very timely with the recent release of which is timely to the ‘Making A Shift Report: Disabled people and the Arts and Cultural Sector Workforce in England: Understanding trends, barriers and
opportunities.’

Link to the full WAC report is here: http://www.achieveability.org.uk/main/policy/wac-report-is-released

NEWS RELEASE Monday 22nd January 2018

REPORT LAUNCH

Neurodiverse Voices:Opening Doors to Employment

Ground-breaking report on systemic barriers to employment

A ground-breaking report is being launched TODAY on Monday January 22nd by the Westminster AchieveAbility Commission (WAC) and then released into the public domain.

Over the period of a year, WAC has gathered evidence on systemic barriers to employment for millions of potential employees who are neurodivergent (i.e. dyslexic, dyspraxic, autistic and/or with Attention Deficit Disorder). This significant study from the Westminster AchieveAbility Commission on Recruitment is aligned with the government’s stated aim of increasing the number of people with disabilities in employment, set out in the Improving Lives Green Paper (2016) and Command Paper (2017). There could be no better time to highlight the abilities and workplace support needs of the large neurodivergent population and point to better recruitment and retention practices, for the benefit of the national economy.

The resulting data has highlighted a widespread lack of awareness, failures in government support and workplace discrimination – but also many examples of good practice as most neurodivergent people are able and skilled – it is recruitment processes that disable them. All of this has fed into the Commission’s report.
The report launch on January 22nd will be followed by a second event, also in Westminster, on Thursday 25th
to celebrate the creativity of the neurodivergent community.

WAC recommendations include widespread awareness training, accessibility of written employment information and an end to inappropriate testing as part of the selection process. We call for the improvement of government support programmes and disability initiatives.

HEADLINES FROM THE REPORT

  • 43% of survey respondents felt discouraged from applying by job application
    processes.
  • 52% claimed to have experienced discrimination during interview or selection
    processes.
  • 73% did not disclose their condition during interview – of those that did, 58%
    regretted it, feeling this led to discrimination.
  • On-line job applications which don’t allow assistive technology and use of spellcheckers bar neurodivergent applicants from accessing jobs.
  • Employers are breaking the law (Equality Act 2010) when they fail to implement reasonable adjustments for disabled people

QUOTATIONS FROM THE REPORT
“My first few staff reports started with the words “this officer will never be suitable for promotion as he is dyslexic.”
“Employers cannot make reasonable adjustments if they do not begin from the premise of acceptance.”
“All psychometric tests are impossible for me, however in many cases I know I would be very good at the job and that these test don’t reflect my capabilities.”

Labelled: The History of Neurodiversity in Pre-existing Museum and Archive Collections

Disability Co-operative Network

What is the Museum of the Labelled?

DCN is very proud to be supporting this project. Jess and DCN believe that museums can influence society. ‘Museum of the Labelled’ will help to break down barriers, stereotypes and give the participants confidence and self-awareness. Museum of the Labelled’ will gather people’s thoughts and experiences, positive and negative, to raise awareness of neurodiversity in society.

To enhance ‘Labelled’, Jess would also like members of the wider community to submit online their own stories, research, art and thoughts throughout the project. Participants will gain an understanding of themselves, give them an opportunity to be involved with a creative project and to develop a sense of belonging and improved wellbeing.

What does this mean for pre-existing collections?

Through the process of ‘Museum of the Labelled’ Jess will begin to create a wider neurodiversity archive of museum objects, art and people’s voices. Neurodiversity history is currently dispersed, with small collections across many museums and archives. Objects are often not recorded fully or used for public engagement. The project aim is to allow museums and collections to share their neurodiverse objects in a central place and allow the public to discover neurodiverse history and highlight hidden stories.

How will the Museum of the Labelled develop?

Jess would like to do this by delivering a participatory art project and by locating relevant museum objects. Participants will:
a) learn about neurodiversity history through exploring archives and museum objects.
b) reflect on their own personal experiences, in comparison to, and informed by, archive items from the selected neurodiversity collection.
c) use this as a catalyst to create new accessible art works. The group will learn about the history of neurodiversity through exploring archives and museum objects. A high proportion of people who are neurodiverse will at some point have a mental illness.

DCN are supporting this project and will be presenting at Neurodiversity and the Arts at Autograph, London on Thursday 9 November and MA Conference Festival of Change on Friday 17 November.

Slides from Museums Association conference are here Slides for the Museums Association

I think I have objects which may relate to this project, what do I do next?

Check out our handout Neurodiversity infographic master
If you have objects which you think will relate to the history of neurodiversity or you are not sure. Do get in touch with Becki at info@musedcn.org.uk or Jess at dyspraxicme@gmail.com

NEWS: Reimagining the neurodiverse performance space – participants required

Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry

Culture Coventry are looking for participants in the following project:

Summary

Neuroaesthetics explores the synergy between the needs and interests of neurodiverse audiences, with the fascinations and performance modes utilised by live artists. Working in collaboration with young people who are largely non-verbal, with severe needs, the artists will be challenged to find meaningful points of collaboration, and together radically re-imagine the neurodiverse performance space.

Each artist will explore and reconfigure their distinct practice in this highly unpredictable, ‘extra live’ context with the support and guidance of the two lead artists. It is anticipated that seeing their work through this new lens and receiving unmediated audience responses will provoke rich new creative lines of enquiry.

Neuroaesthetics looks to challenge ideas of risk in a highly safeguarded area of work, and dismantle the idea of a fixed a ‘disabled theatre’ aesthetic to make way for new possibilities of making performance for and with this often sidelined group of individuals.

Application and further details:

Applications are open for artists to take park in the project this October.
The deadline for applications is Mon 19 June at 12noon.
Further details including how to apply are here:
http://www.thisisliveart.co.uk/opportunities/diy-14-2017-ellie-griffiths-greg-sinclair

 

What is the Dyslexia Adult Network?

Dyslexia Adult Network (DAN) Logo

Introducing ourselves

The Dyslexia Adult Network (DAN) is a coalition of organisations and specialists working at a national level with adults with dyslexia. We also cover Dyspraxia, Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder and Dyscalculia – sometimes known as neurodivergent (ND). The issues that cause the most difficulty to this population relate to employment in its many aspects: recruitment, support, progression and career development, disclosure and workplace awareness.

Advantages of having dyslexic employees

The benefits to employers of employees with dyslexia (in particular) comprise a skillset which includes creativity, innovative and ‘blue sky’ thinking, the ability to grasp an overview, see links and connections and highly-developed visual-spatial skills.

Professor Roderick Nicholson highlights that high-profile corporations including the BBC, Virgin and Google are successful because they encourage dyslexic people in senior roles – see his  TED talk. Research from the Cass Business school flags up high numbers of successful entrepreneurs with dyslexia: an area that has become ever more important in the BREXIT landscape. Very recent research by Margaret Malpas, founder of DAN, showed that many adults ascribe their talents to dyslexia. Her book, Self Fulfilment with Dyslexia: a blueprint for success, published this week, is a “how to” book on acquiring the ten characteristics that many successful dyslexic adults share. It also contains inspiring stories from successful adults who battled against the odds that their education had dealt them.

HABIA (The Hair and Beauty Industry Authority) is a beacon of good practice, redesigning all its training materials to be dyslexia-friendly. This sector consists of hairdressing, beauty therapy, nail services, spa therapy and barbering.

Identifying recruitment as a key area, we are engaged with the Westminster AchieveAbility Commission on Recruitment on Dyslexia/ND running from Oct 2016-Oct 2017  http://www.achieveability.org.uk/main/policy/new-commission Our final report (Oct 2017) will highlight barriers to successful employment and flag up good practice.

 

Accessibility matters

Accessibility is an important issue for people with disabilities, whether this is the physical aspect of  workplace for wheelchair users or documents in braille for people who use this communication method. When considering dyslexia/ND a number of things can be done to enable better access to employment :

  • Documentation well spaced, in font at least size 12, on off-white paper.
  • On-line communications that enable the use of assistive technology such as text reading software
  • Job application processes that clearly state the skills required
  • An alternative to psychometric testing because this will usually probe areas of difficulty but not assess areas of strength associated with dyslexia/ND.

But most of all we need awareness of these widespread conditions that affect around 10% of the population representing a huge well of (often) untapped potential. Access to Work should provide workplace assessment, aids and support but all too often the service is inadequate, leading to frequent complaints to DAN.

Dyslexia and Apprenticeships

Data from 2010-11 showed that 18,940 learners participating on an apprenticeship programme self-declared dyslexia; this has been a feature of the winners of Apprentice of the Year.

Employers can expect people who come to them via this ‘on-the-job training’ route to have a higher than usual incidence of dyslexia – and should be prepared to support them. The National Apprenticeship Service is working on an action plan aimed at improving support provisions and exam accessibility using assistive technology.

College student, Rheanna Stiles has spoken out on this issue http://www.barkingdagenhamcollege.ac.uk/en/about-the-college/college-news.cfm/page/apprentice-speaks-out-about-dyslexia

SEE ALSO https://www.google.com/amp/s/levelplayingfields.com/2013/08/05/dyslexia-apprenticeships/amp/

Government commitment to halving the Disability Employment Gap

This BBC initiative is timely now that the government Green Paper on Disability and Employment ‘Improving Lives’ is under consideration. We welcome the idea of work coaches, as long as they are well trained, and the aim of changing employer attitudes. We hope that Disability Confident can become more robust in order to encourage a sea change in employer take-up of people with disabilities.

However the emphasis on health and a medical model is inappropriate to a number of common disabilities, including dyslexia/ND.

The disability-friendly workplace

In order to welcome diversity, the workplace should take the following steps:

  • listen to (potential) employees with disabilities explain their strengths and their reasonable adjustments needs– which may be very low cost
  • allow more flexibility so that employees can reach agreed goals in their own ways
  • encourage disability networks for mutual support.

 

The Unions have an important role to play in diverse workplace

  • to disseminate awareness and good practice
  • to mediate if difficulties arise
  • to provide support

SEE Prospect Union website for an example of helpful information  https://www.prospect.org.uk/at-work/neurodiversity/?_ts=3240

https://www.prospect.org.uk/at-work/neurodiversity/workplace/helping-members

 

 

From Dyslexia Adult Network www.dan-uk.co.uk  Email http://dan-uk.co.uk/contact
Twitter @museumDCN

 

 

Accessible Text Standards UK

Disability Co-operative Network

Guidelines issued by Government (2014)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inclusive-communication/accessible-communication-formats

UK Association for Accessible Formats (2012)

https://www.rnib.org.uk/sites/default/files/UKAAF%20creating%20clear%20print%20and%20large%20print%20documents.pdf

Ability Net Guidelines

https://www.abilitynet.org.uk/quality/documents/StandardofAccessibility.pdf

RNIB Clear Print Guidelines

http://www.psncorp.com/Downloads/RNIB_Clear_Print_Guidelines.pdf

British Dyslexia Association Style Guide for people with neurodiversity (particularly dyslexia)

http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/common/ckeditor/filemanager/userfiles/About_Us/policies/Dyslexia_Style_Guide.pdf

BBC Cape Project for neurodiverse talent in the workplace

The Autistix at the BBC

DCN was both thrilled and honoured to be invited to hear more about CAPE (Creating A Positive Environment) Project entitled ‘Joining the Dots’ to attract and retain neurodiverse talent in the workplace at the BBC.

Neurodiversity is a spectrum of dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, Attention Deficit Disorder, ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) and tourettes[1] . As these profiles are part of a spectrum, it means it effects people in different ways, such as poor working memory but strengthened with a strong visual memory. People with dyslexic traits can often see the big picture and how their organisation can be strategically influenced for better business. Other people may have difficulties reading body language but can consume information as their special interest and collections. No two people will have exactly the same traits.

The BBC event was a great opportunity to meet our colleagues from various social media groups such as #AXSChat and fellow tweeters who are passionate about diversity and inclusion for all. We were happily met by Chloe Spicer who designs multi-sensory experiences with books. Also Neil Milliken from #AXSchat a global accessibility group of various individuals, national and international organisations which invited DCN to be interviewed a few weeks ago. We caught up and networked with representatives including the National Autism Society, Sensory Spectacle and BBC.  It was great to see the Tate speaking about their work creating sound artat Tate Kids for children with neurodiverse profiles.

The historic Radio Theatre showcased neurodiverse talent for next 1 ½ hours. Amber Lee Dodd reading from her book ‘We Are Giants’, Rapper Smiffy, Dancer Javarn Carter-Fraser aka Nitro, Space Scientist Maggie Auderin Pocock, great band ‘The Autistix’ comedian Don Biswas and Alan Gardener ‘The Autistic Gardener.’ I’m not going to tell you what neurodiverse profiles these people have, because it shouldn’t matter. Their talent as communicators in their chosen field shone through the entire theatre. Their profiles are part of them, but really it’s their talent as people which is defining.

The message behind the event was the collaboration of sectors and recognising that our recruitment and methods may not attract the talent that we actively sought, as they are not accessible. BBC Employable Me shows that some techniques will not always attract the best candidate. Interestingly when Ashley spoke about his love of the Victorian era. He was sent to an auction house, not a museum.

Leena Haque said for discussion and afterthought should we cross out the word ‘dis’ in disability remain with the word ability’? We recognise ability, but let’s look at our methods to attract and retain neurodiverse and disabled talent in the workplace.

 

[1] Ref:  DANDA

Dyspraxia Dynamo: Working with Dyspraxia: A Hidden Asset

As part of the project Key 4 Learning and the Dyspraxia Foundation have developed an Employers Guide providing information to enable employers to better recognise and support people with dyspraxia in the workplace. This document was written by professionals with extensive experience of supporting adults with neurodiverse conditions in the workplace and incorporates feedback from workshop participants and those who attended the Dyspraxia Dynamo Stakeholder event in March 2012

For the Employers Guide ‘Working with Dyspraxia: A Hidden Asset’ and accompanying video please see here:

http://www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/dyspraxia-adults/dyspraxia-dynamo

An Employer’s Guide to Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD ~ Dr Sylvia Moody, Practitioner Psychologist

Please note:  The term specific performance difficulties is the general term used in a workplace context to denote dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD. 

Dyslexia

Dyslexia is often regarded simply as a difficulty with reading and writing, but in fact these literacy difficulties are ‘surface symptoms’ of weaknesses in more fundamental cognitive abilities, i.e. short-term memory, visual processing, phonology. The literacy (and numeracy) difficulties associated with these weaknesses may be severe and obvious; or they may be more subtle, manifesting themselves in general slowness rather than inaccuracy in performing workplace tasks.

Among the difficulties most often reported are:

  • reading quickly with good comprehension
  • writing memos, emails, letters and reports
  • being accurate with numbers
  • following and remembering written and spoken instructions
  • remembering telephone numbers and messages
  • formulating thoughts rapidly enough to take part in discussions
  • note-taking
  • filing and looking up entries in directories or dictionaries
  • meeting deadlines.

Dyspraxia

 The term ‘dyspraxia’ denotes difficulties with co-ordinating movement and judging distance, space and time. General organisational skills and social skills are often also affected.

Workplace difficulties include:

  • presenting written work in a neat manner
  • analysing complex tables of figures or diagrams
  • using office equipment, e.g., calculator, photocopier
  • getting lost even in familiar surroundings
  • timekeeping
  • organising work schedules
  • keeping papers in order.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is characterised by poor concentration, distractibility and procrastination. Impulsivity and physical/cognitive restlessness are often also evident.

People with ADHD will find it hard to work in a noisy or busy environment, e.g., an open-plan office and they may have difficulty following set procedures. They will have difficulty in sitting still and concentrating for long periods and so will find meetings difficult. Their social skills may be poor: they may talk in an unfocused way and be inclined to interrupt people, sometimes blurting out irrelevant or inappropriate remarks. They may also be prone to sudden mood swings and may suffer anxiety or depression.

Difficult emotions

By the time people with the above problems reach adulthood they may have been struggling for many years with difficulties which have never been recognised or understood. In such cases the original difficulties are likely to be bound up with a constellation of unpleasant, and perhaps debilitating, emotions: anger, confusion, embarrassment, anxiety, depression. Confidence and self-esteem will also be low.

Social interactions

People whose problems have not been recognised are a mystery not only to themselves, but also to those for whom, and with whom, they work. They may be withdrawn and seem unwilling to pull their weight, or they may be oversensitive and aggressive. In general such employees are often difficult to ‘place’: they seem ambitious to progress in their career but are constantly hindered by inefficiency and a baffling inertia.

Positive aspects of specific performance difficulties

People with these difficulties are often motivated to succeed in their work despite their difficulties. They know the meaning of hard work, long hours and determination. They may excel in lateral thinking, and be creative and innovative. They often have good powers of visualisation, excellent practical skills, and an untaught intuitive understanding of how systems work.

Diagnostic assessment

A diagnostic assessment should be arranged through one of the main advice organisations or with a private practitioner who has relevant qualifications.  A referral to a hospital psychology department is not recommended.

Equality Act

If a dyslexic person’s difficulties are severe enough to impede his/her efficiency in everyday activities, then s/he may be covered by the Equality Act. The employer would then be obliged to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to reduce or remove any substantial disadvantage caused to that person by any of the employment arrangements in force.

For example, care would need to be taken that the employee was not unfairly disadvantaged in such things as: making a job application, interviews, proficiency tests, terms of employment, promotion, benefits, transfer or training opportunities, and dismissal or redundancy procedures. It is also usually appropriate to commission a workplace needs assessment to identify the type and level of support (in the form of skills training, IT support and reasonable adjustments ) that would be useful to the employee in his/her particular job.

Workplace needs assessment

This can be arranged either through the government’s Access to Work scheme or with a private practitioner or organisation specialising in workplace dyslexia consultancy. Please note that Access to Work assessors may not be experts in dyslexia, dyspraxia or ADHD and may not provide comprehensive recommendations or offer a consultancy service to the employer on reasonable adjustments.

Sources of information

For general advice, help and information about dyslexia:

British Dyslexia Association    0845 251 9002     www.bdadyslexia.org.uk

Books which explain how dyslexia and associated difficulties affect working life:

 

            Dyslexia: How to Survive and Succeed at Work by Sylvia Moody. Random House.

Dyslexia in the Workplace: An Introductory Guide by Sylvia Moody and Diana Bartlett. Wiley-Blackwell.

 

For general advice, help and information about dyspraxia:

Dyspraxia Foundation   01462 459 986   www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk

Dyspraxia UK      01795 531 998    www.dyspraxiauk.com

 

The following books may be useful:

            Living with Dyspraxia by M. Colley. Jessica Kingsley.

            That’s the Way I Think – dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD explained. David Grant.

David Fulton Books.

 

For general advice, help and information about ADHD:

Simply Well Being   020 8099 7671   simplywellbeing.com 

AADD-UK    aadduk.org

 

The following books may be useful:

How to Succeed in Employment with Specific Learning Difficulties.

Amanda Kirby. Souvenir Press.

Smart but Stuck: Emotions in Teens and Adults with ADHD. Thomas E Browne.

Jossey Bass / Wiley.

 

 

Dr Sylvia Moody
Practitioner Psychologist
symoody@aol.com
sylviamoody.com

© Sylvia Moody. This article may be reproduced with due attribution of authorship.

 

Definition of Dyspraxia

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), also known as dyspraxia, is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. DCD is formally recognised by international organisations including the World Health Organisation. DCD is distinct from other motor disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke, and occurs across the range of intellectual abilities. Individuals may vary in how their difficulties present: these may change over time depending on environmental demands and life experiences, and will persist into adulthood.

https://www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/about-dyspraxia/dyspraxia-glance/