Social Proof

How to support neurodiversity in the workplace

Speechify is the #1 audio reader in the world. Get through books, docs, articles, PDFs, emails - anything you read - faster.
Try for free

Featured In

forbes logocbs logotime magazine logonew york times logowall street logo
Listen to this article with Speechify!

Promote inclusivity in your workplace with our guide on supporting neurodiversity. Learn how to create a positive work environment today.

How to support neurodiversity in the workplace

As workplaces strive for greater diversity and inclusion, neurodiversity is becoming increasingly important. In this article, we will explore some key strategies for building a more neurodiverse workplace and supporting the well-being and success of all team members.

What is neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity is a concept that recognizes natural variation in the human brain and acknowledges that neurological differences, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and Tourette's syndrome, among others, should be respected and celebrated just like any other human variation. It seeks to reduce stigma and discrimination towards neurodivergent individuals and promote the idea that different ways of thinking and experiencing the world can be valuable and contribute to society in unique and positive ways. The neurodiversity movement advocates for greater acceptance and inclusion of neurodivergent individuals in all areas of society, including education, employment, and social settings.

Examples of neurodiverse people

Some examples of how neurodiversity can manifest in neurodivergent individuals include:

  • Autism: a developmental disorder affecting social interaction, communication, and behavior, often accompanied by sensory sensitivity and different information processing.
  • ADHD: a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, often leading to difficulty concentrating and distractibility.
  • Dyslexia: a learning disorder affecting reading and writing abilities, often causing difficulties recognizing words and reading inaccurately or slowly.
  • Dyscalculia: a learning disorder affecting mathematical abilities, often causing difficulty with number sense, arithmetic, and mathematical reasoning.
  • Dyspraxia: a developmental disorder affecting motor coordination and planning, often causing difficulty with fine or gross motor skills.
  • Tourette's syndrome: a neurological disorder causing sudden, involuntary movements or sounds called tics.
  • OCD: a mental health disorder causing recurring, unwanted thoughts and repetitive behaviors or rituals.
  • Asperger's syndrome: a developmental disorder affecting social interaction and communication, often accompanied by a special interest in a specific subject or activity.
  • Sensory processing disorder: a condition where the brain has difficulty processing information from the senses, leading to difficulties with behavior, attention, and learning.

How to embrace and support neurodiversity in the workplace

As an employer, it's essential to embrace and support neurodiversity in the workplace. Doing so can lead to a more inclusive and diverse workforce, enhance employee engagement, and increase productivity.

Advantages of Neurodiversity in the Workplace

Employing neurodivergent individuals can offer unique advantages to the workplace. In fact, neurodiverse employees often have different skill sets than neurotypical people. Neurodiverse employees often excel at thinking outside of the box and can even have a competitive advantage. They may also have a heightened attention to detail and a strong ability to process and retain information.

For example, individuals with autism or ADHD are often highly skilled in pattern recognition and problem-solving. They can be detail-oriented and have excellent memories, which can be helpful in certain industries like cybersecurity or finance. People with dyslexia can have exceptional spatial reasoning skills, which can be advantageous in roles requiring visualizing and manipulating data.

How to create an inclusive hiring process for neurodiverse candidates

Creating an inclusive hiring process for neurodivergent employees is essential to build a diverse and talented team. Here are the top neurodiversity hiring tips:

  1. Involve your hiring managers — Ensure that your hiring managers are trained and educated on neurodiversity, and understand the value of neurodiverse candidates in the workplace. Encourage them to seek out candidates who may have different skill sets and to be open to different communication styles during the interview process.
  2. Use inclusive language in job descriptions — Use inclusive language in job descriptions to attract neurodiverse candidates. Avoid using language that may be perceived as exclusive or discriminatory, such as "must have good social skills."
  3. Make accommodations for the interview process — Offer accommodations during the interview process, such as allowing extra time, providing written instructions, or allowing the use of assistive technology. Be flexible with the interview format, and allow candidates to choose the method that works best for them, such as in-person, video, or phone interviews.
  4. Provide expert-driven training for human resources — Ensure that your human resources team is trained in neurodiversity and understands how to create an inclusive workplace for neurodivergent employees. Consider bringing in experts to provide training on topics such as accommodations, communication styles, and how to support employees with autism.
  5. Offer initiatives for neurodiverse employees — Consider offering initiatives that support neurodiverse employees, such as flexible work schedules or noise-canceling headphones. These initiatives can help neurodiverse employees feel more comfortable and supported in the workplace.

By making these changes to your hiring process, you can create a more inclusive workplace and attract talented neurodiverse candidates to your organization.

Building a Neurodiverse Workforce

To build a neurodiverse workforce, you need to go beyond just adjusting your hiring practices. Here are the top tips for creating a supportive workplace that welcomes neurodiversity.

Engage with the local community

Engaging with the local community can help you identify potential candidates and build relationships with local organizations that support neurodiverse individuals. Nonprofits like Autism Speaks or The National Autistic Society can connect you with neurodiverse talent and provide resources and training for your team.

Be patient

It's crucial to be patient when working with neurodivergent employees. It may take longer for them to process information or learn new skills, but their contributions can be invaluable. Offering a flexible work schedule can help accommodate their individual needs, allowing them to thrive in their role.

Organize expert-driven, two-way training

Offering training for neurotypical team members can help create a more inclusive and understanding workplace. Harvard Business Review recommends expert-driven, two-way training that teaches employees about neurodiversity and offers strategies for better communication and collaboration with neurodivergent team members.

Be ready and willing to accommodate

To attract and retain neurodiverse talent, it's crucial to be ready and willing to accommodate their needs. This includes adjusting your hiring practices to use inclusive language in job descriptions, interviews, and in the workplace. For example, instead of using the term "disability," use "neurodivergent" or "neurodiverse." You can also offer accommodations like noise-canceling headphones, changes to the work environment, and more extended onboarding and training periods.

Misconceptions about neurodivergent workers

There are many misconceptions about neurodivergent workers that can create barriers to inclusion. For example, some believe that people with autism struggle with social skills or cannot maintain eye contact. While this may be true for some individuals, it's not a universal trait. To avoid these stereotypes, focus on an individual's strengths and skills rather than their perceived limitations.

Retaining neurodivergent employees

Retention is essential when building a neurodiverse workforce. Provide ongoing support and training, and create a workspace that fosters well-being and employee engagement. Consider offering opportunities for growth and development, such as mentorship or coaching.

Offer Speechify to neurodiverse employees

Speechify is a text to speech application that can be helpful for neurodivergent employees by reading any physical or digital text aloud.

For employees with dyslexia or other reading difficulties, Speechify can help them access information that may have been difficult to read or process in the past, such as documents, emails, and other written communications, which can help them understand and retain the information better. Additionally, employees who struggle with focusing or processing large amounts of written information, such as those with ADHD, can also benefit from Speechify. Overall, by listening to the content instead of reading it, neurodivergent employees may be able to complete tasks and assessments in less time and boost their productivity and complete their work more efficiently.

Offer the program to neurodivergent employees to promote an inclusive workplace by signing up for a free trial of Speechify today.


What does ADHD stand for?

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

What is the DEI?

DEI stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. It is a framework that organizations use to promote a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace culture. It involves creating policies and practices that acknowledge and celebrate differences among individuals and address systemic barriers to equal opportunities.

How to help a neurodivergent person with anxiety?

To help a neurodivergent person with anxiety, it is important to listen to their needs, provide a safe and supportive environment, and offer coping strategies such as deep breathing or mindfulness exercises.

How do you help neurodivergent students?

To help neurodivergent students, it is important to provide accommodations that meet their individual needs, such as extended time for tests, preferential seating, and access to assistive technology like Speechify’s TTS software. It is also important to provide emotional support and education about neurodiversity to promote acceptance and understanding.

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.