NEWS RELEASE 15 January 2018: Neurodiverse Voices: Opening Doors to Employment

achieveability logo

Ground-breaking report on systemic barriers to employment

A ground-breaking report is being launched 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.”

WAC Media Release 2018

Consultation Opportunity (Questionnaire) Dyslexia and the Impact of Managerial Practices Research

Disability Co-operative Network

Hello,

I’m trying to determine whether or not there is a relationship between managerial practices, and the impact on people with dyslexia regarding employment stability.

The study involves the completion of a short questionnaire which is available online and will take approximately 40 minutes to complete. Please click on the web link below to take part in the online questionnaire.

Link – https://stirling.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/dyslexia-and-the-impact-of-managerial-practice-research

Secondly in-depth interviews are available for anyone who would like to contribute further to the research and should last approximately two hours.

If you would like to participate in an interview and want to find out more, please email me at: dps00002@students.stir.ac.uk

The deadline is 19th July 2017.

Many thanks

Dean Smith

University of Stirling

Westminster AchieveAbility Commission into recruitment practice for dyslexic and neurodivergent people wants to hear from you.

Briefing

Chaired by Barry Sheerman MP with Lord Addington as adviser, this Commission will investigate work related recruitment and build on existing research such as the recent ACAS report ‘Neurodiversity at Work’. The Commission will feed into the government goal of ‘Halving the Disability Employment Gap’ by 2020. As dyslexic people, and those who are neurodivergent, represent the highest percentage of adults who are disabled (British Dyslexia Association) this Commission is vital in order to represent the issues for this community, as well as revealing their intellect, value and strengths within the workplace. Continue reading Westminster AchieveAbility Commission into recruitment practice for dyslexic and neurodivergent people wants to hear from you.

DAN Network News – No. 3 Autumn 2016

Dyslexia Adult Network (DAN) Logo

Here is the latest Network News from the Dyslexic Adult Network :  DAN Network News – Autumn 2016

The Dyslexia Adult Network (DAN) has been founded to increase awareness of the impact of dyslexia and related conditions on adults. The network are made up of representatives of the major dyslexia charities and of specialists, including adults with dyslexia.

Check out the developments of the network with campaigns such as Disability Confident, Department of Work and Pensions and the retention and recruitment of dyslexic people in the workplace via this edition of the Network News.

If you have any queries concerning DAN and its work or would like to join their mailing list:
please go to http://dan-uk.co.uk/

 

 

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

Neurodiversity in Employment by Sean Gilroy and Leena Haque

So, what is Neurodiversity and why are we interested in it?  Well, Neurodiversity refers to conditions which cause a person to process information differently; Autism Spectrum Condition, Asperger’s, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and other neurological conditions are becoming increasingly known by the term Neurodiversity and they affect at least one in 25 people.

We started working together around 3 years ago, after I (Leena, Hello) joined the BBC through the Extend Scheme – an employment scheme aimed at people with disabilities.  This is when I met Sean, who was to be my line manager (Hello.)  Now, while we each had relevant experience of each other’s respective fields, we noticed that there was a lack of information regarding Neurodiversity from the perspective of the new employee and for the employer.

Specifically, we felt there was a lack of information regarding awareness of hidden conditions and the effective management of neurodiverse individuals. Likewise we felt that there was similar lack of resources for people with hidden conditions to access when facing the prospect of applying for roles or starting employment.   Basically, where was the consolidated best practice for employers to draw on which provided support for both managers and staff.

So, we set up an anonymous, online survey to explore both the employment experiences for people with hidden disabilities and the knowledge and awareness of line managers. We promoted the survey via social media – an excellent forum often frequented by Neurodiverse individuals and anonymous so as to encourage people to tell us how they really feel.

We managed to get an excellent response to this, 470 people completed the survey broadly split 70/30 between staff and managers.  There were positive stories out there from people that replied, citing the individual creativity of line managers and where people felt they were being actively supported.  But there was also the message that Stigma is still a concern for people and that managers didn’t always know where to go for support and information.

Until recently the disadvantages and negatives of hidden disabilities (if not all disability) have been focused on, while the special talents that often come with these conditions are overlooked. From our perspective on this project, the need to increase awareness is mainly about dispelling the myths, perceptions and even prejudices people may have about these conditions, especially in employment.

This situation is possibly easier to understand if we consider that the conversation around diversity in the work place usually concentrates on visible differences; race, religion and physical disabilities. Increasingly though, more companies are now recognising the need to embrace, nurture and facilitate those with hidden disabilities, especially in those areas where Neurodiversity tends to excel – Creativity and Technology.

While organisations are increasingly aware of the broadest spectrum of what Diversity means, there are still those barriers to employment which Neurodiverse individuals have to overcome in order to get the chance of employment.

Take for example the application and interview process, once you have managed to find a job you’re interested in.  The first barrier is having to complete an application form, which is often full of employment jargon, non-specific descriptions of responsibilities and hidden expectations.  The type-face and font may not be easy to read and decipher and it can be unclear as to who and how you might ask for assistance.  There is also only the one way to apply – in writing, which is not necessarily someone’s preferred method.

Then, if you manage to be selected after deciphering the application, the second barrier is having to suffer a face-to-face interview.  How best to cope with the protocol of maintaining eye contact, answering open-ended questions based on hypothetical scenarios or being invited to give a brief history of your experience to date.

To be fair, as well as anyone with ASC for example, this process is something many of us will probably relate a certain sense of anxiety to.  Which brings us on to a rather interesting side-effect of our research…

When we highlight some of those aspects we’ve identified as being problematic for Neurodiverse conditions, we often receive a positive response from Neurotypical people.  Whether it be the anxieties of applications, the patterns on the wall or floor being distracting, social cues at work being misunderstood, buildings being difficult to navigate or emails difficult to read; it appears that we all share certain things that we would like to change, that perhaps we are all on the spectrum?

So, if we can make changes to help people with Neurodiverse conditions the payback could be larger, in that these changes are likely to help a wider population.  If we can review our recruitment practices, we may begin to identify new streams of talent.  And if we look at making the working environment accessible for all, considering both physical and hidden disabilities, that retention rates and working efficiency could improve for everyone.

We believe it is important to keep in mind that an individual is a unique learner; that no two people are exactly the same and no two people learn and work in exactly the same manner. If we can open up to new ideas and allow individuals to demonstrate skills and talents in a way they feel best able, might we not be able to find more appropriate ways to identify and retain key talent in the workplace.