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5 ways to empower and support neurodiverse people in the workplace

Ash Poole
Mar 20, 2024

This year for Neurodiversity Celebration week, we hear from Ash, one of our colleagues, who share their story

My name is Ash, I am 25 years old, and I was diagnosed with ASD two years ago. I recently joined Capgemini’s Cloud Infrastructure Services team, currently undertaking a role in Engagement Management.

Receiving a professional diagnosis for my neurodiversity at a later stage in my development proved to be quite challenging, but it also helped me to seek the appropriate support for my needs and discover my strengths and weaknesses in the workplace. Drawing from my experience of being neurodiverse in the workplace, I believe that the following are the top ways to support and empower neurodiverse people in the workplace and promote inclusivity.

1. Listen

It can be incredibly difficult for neurodiverse people to communicate the ways in which they’re struggling, especially when in an environment surrounded by neurotypical people. In the early stages of my professional working life, I found myself presented with challenges that often felt like no one else was struggling with, leading to me feeling quite isolated as it felt like I had no one to talk to about these things. Later in my career, I had a better understanding of myself and wanted to apply tactics from my personal life into a workplace setting, not only to protect my mental wellbeing but also to perform better. As important as these tactics are, it’s equally important to feel as though there is someone who will take the time to listen and take into account how we can be affected by things and what can be done to help us be our best-selves.

2. Be direct

Following on from the previous point, be direct and precise! Of course, one cannot be expected to give long list of instructions for every task given, otherwise it may seem to make more sense for that person to complete the tasks themselves, however it is important to be clear with intentions. In my case for example, receiving vague directions and being told to “figure it out” has – on many occasions – led to frustration from the task-giver when I inevitably approached them with a long list of questions. Yet with these questions answered, I can complete tasks to my highest ability without much need for additional guidance. It must be understood that for many people on the spectrum, it is not necessarily within our nature to read between lines and decode cryptic language choices, especially through text communications.

3. Acknowledge the diverse

The word ‘diverse’ has been defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “Very different from each other and of various kinds”. It is crucial to keep this definition in mind when creating an inclusive workplace for neurodiverse people, as no two people with the same condition function in the exact same manner. That is not to say that we cannot draw upon our experiences as a foundation for our understanding of neurodiversity, however, do keep in mind that your neurodiverse colleagues may not present themselves in the same way as someone else you may know that experiences a similar neurofunction, so it’s important to be open-minded.

4. Don’t define a person by their condition

Our neurodiversities are definitely part of our make-up; however, they are not the only defining quality we have! Taking pride in these parts of ourselves is vital to maintaining a positive mindset, and the way this manifests in the workplace plays a big part. It’s crucial to understand that not everyone who is neurodiverse sees it as a large part of their identity, and whilst they shouldn’t be ashamed of their condition, they may not want it to be become a talking point. If in doubt, check if the person is comfortable and ask questions.

5. Avoid harmful presumptions

Through stereotypes, media, personal experience, and a variety of other factors, it can become quite easy to make presumptions – especially when it comes to neurodiversity. Some people believe that only young boys can present signs of ADHD, some may believe that all of those affected by Dyslexia will be completely unable to read or write, and others may think that people with Tourette’s Syndrome only suffer from verbal tics; making presumptions like this can be damaging and invalidating.

If you discover that someone in your workplace is diagnosed with a neurodivergent condition, it’s very important to avoid prejudice and allow that person to comfortably express themselves, as their condition may manifest in a completely different way to preconceived ideas.

Capgemini are an inclusive employer, and we have recently launched a new
Employee Network Group for our Neurodiverse colleagues and allies.
If you’re looking for your next role and are considering Capgemini, you can see our opportunities here:

Meet our exper

Ash Poole

Cloud Infrastructure Services
Ash is 25 years old and she joined Capgemini recently after seeking a career change from her years of management in the hospitality sector. In her spare time she enjoys going to gigs and festivals such as Download, rock climbing, and playing competitive card games with her friends.