top of page

Supporting neurodiverse colleagues in the workplace

Supporting neurodiverse colleagues in the workplace

It is becoming increasingly important for us to acknowledge and appreciate the unique perspectives and talents of individuals with different neurological profiles, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and other differences, as our understanding of neurodiversity continues to grow.

It is highly likely that you have colleagues, friends or family members who are neurodiverse, and we should recognise and celebrate the diversity of the human experience whilst unlocking people’s potential. The ADHD Foundation report their figures show a '400% increase in adults seeking an ADHD diagnosis since 2020'. Regardless of diagnosis rates, neurodiversity is becoming more understood and therefore more prevalent, so your businesses need to stay ahead by making appropriate accommodations for a neurodiverse workforce.

In this article, we explore how we can differentiate the workplace experience of our neurodivergent colleagues to release their talents and get the best results.

Why it's essential to understand neurodiversity at work

Graph to show number of people with common neurodivergent differences

The ability to think differently from neurotypical individuals, the majority, is a significant advantage of being neurodivergent. Our neurodiverse colleagues bring unique skills to the workplace, including the ability to see the bigger picture, innovate, think creatively, find solutions, and hyper-focus on projects.

The ability to think differently from neurotypical individuals, the majority, is a significant advantage of being neurodivergent. Our neurodiverse colleagues bring unique skills to the workplace, including the ability to see the bigger picture, innovate, think creatively, find solutions, and hyper-focus on projects.

Samantha Lavender, Grace's Special Needs & Neurodiversity Advice Manager says; 'As a co-worker or manager, there are numerous ways to support your neurodiverse colleagues to thrive in their roles. By creating a supportive and inclusive environment, you can help them fulfil their potential and enable them to make valuable contributions to the team. It is essential to provide the necessary accommodations and understanding to help them achieve their goals and be successful in their work.’

Examples of neurodivergent thinking and behaviours

How to support neurodiverse colleagues at work

Neurodiversity describes a range of conditions, each with distinct attributes and strengths. For instance, autistic individuals often have a keen eye for detail and excel in repetitive tasks. At the same time, those with dyslexia may display excellent verbal skills and creativity.

Below, we have compiled some valuable tips on how to support our colleagues, family, and friends who are neurodiverse.

Embrace the differences that neurodiversity brings

Creating a culture that values neurodiversity will foster inclusivity. Far from being differences that need to be removed from your organisation or that will cause issues, there are some real benefits that are often ‘symptoms’ of neurodiversity. For example, the hyperfocus that might come with ADHD; the ability to focus, wholly and completely on a specific project that might be part of somebody’s autism presentation; or the processing of information of someone with Dyslexia that might just mean you change your communications to be more inclusive. The possibilities are endless!

Be open, supportive and understanding

It is crucial to create a safe and accepting environment where people feel comfortable sharing their neurodivergent differences. Being open and supportive towards your colleagues can help them feel more comfortable and confident in asking for support.

If you are a manager of someone who is neurodiverse, it is essential to offer extra support and guidance whenever needed. Regular check-ins, one-to-one meetings, and coaching sessions can help develop their skills and address any challenges they may face.

Making working from home with his dog

Provide flexibility

To help neurodiverse colleagues thrive, it's best to be as flexible as possible. This could mean offering flexible working hours, remote working options, and flexible workspaces. Focus more on the quality of work being done rather than how and when it is being completed. If the job role involves a lot of video calls, consider normalising turning the camera function off.

Be clear and structured

Creating a clear and structured work environment can be especially helpful for colleagues with neurodiverse conditions. Clear instructions, breaking down tasks into smaller chunks and using visual aids can all help to create a more structured work environment, which can benefit all co-workers in making their day-to-day tasks easier.

Avoid sensory overload

Sensory overload can be overwhelming for neurodiverse individuals. This includes bright lights, loud noises and strong smells. Reducing visual clutter, providing a quiet workspace and offering noise-cancelling headphones help reduce sensory overload.

Sometimes it won’t be possible to remove all of this stimuli but taking into consideration that your employee might be impacted by this means you can tailor your approach to the meetings or work expectations after this stimuli to allow your employee to regulate themselves.

Provide reasonable adjustments

It's important to remember that employers have a legal obligation to make adjustments and support their employees with disabilities, including those with neurodivergent conditions. This could involve providing assistive technology, adapting workspaces, and adjusting workloads.

Creating an inclusive work environment that values and supports neurodiverse colleagues benefits the entire team. When everyone feels valued, supported and invested in the team's success, they are more likely to feel motivated and engaged. So, let us celebrate neurodiversity and work together to create a more inclusive workplace for all.

Our support

At Grace our expert team of Neurodiversity Advisers provides advice and support on all areas of neurodiversity, from help with understanding conditions and managing symptoms, to accessing support, services and funding. If you, your organisation or anyone you are close to is looking for support, get in touch.



Grace Consulting are the UK’s founding providers of expert independent advice on elderly care advice, special needs advice and neurodiversity advice.

Independence and client wellbeing are at the heart of everything we do. We listen, reassure and advise you on how to move forwards and find the best possible solutions for your unique life challenges.


bottom of page