It is about time we begin to shift our mindset and embrace neurodiversity as a natural part of our human experience. This means advocating for accommodations and support for individuals with neurodivergent traits in schools, workplaces, and society as a whole. By doing so, we can create a more inclusive and accepting world where everyone can thrive.
This is why we’ve asked our Breaking Bias Experts Panel members Tori Graham and Ludmila Praslova for book recommendations and scientific articles to help break biases and promote an understanding of neurodiversity.
Resource list on neurodiversity by Ludmila Praslova
A bit about
Ludmila is a professor of Psychology at Vanguard University and a Contributor to Harvard Business Review, an Organisational Culture and Inclusion strategist, trainer and consultant and an expert in neurodiversity at work and autism inclusion.
Neurodiversity in the workplace has been gaining increasing attention lately. However, it is still surrounded by many misconceptions, myths, and controversies. While it is essential to promote neurodiversity inclusion in the workplace, it is also crucial to avoid the extremes of dehumanizing and commodifying neurodivergent individuals by solely framing them as a business asset.
Ludmila Prasolva provides an excellent review of this controversy and some advice on how to avoid extremes in her detailed article titled “Autistic Strengths, human value, and human uniqueness: Untangling the strengths-based approach from stereotypes and simplifications¨.
2 things most people get wrong about autistic talent
In addition, Ludmila emphasizes that it is helpful to remind zealous but not always fully informed supporters of the importance of considering the full range of autistic and neurodivergent abilities beyond the typecasting into tech roles. When it comes to this, sadly, there are still 2 things most people get wrong about autistic talent:
- The first stereotype is the occupational pigeonholing of autistic people into tech jobs.
- The second stereotype is helping to bust is another longstanding and pernicious one—that autistic people “don’t do” teamwork and collaboration. They are “lone wolves.”
While autism acceptance is growing, many organizational practices still exclude autistic talent and rely on these stereotypes. For a more academic treatment of this topic take a look at the full paper “Don’t Tell Me What to Do: Neurodiversity Inclusion Beyond the Occupational Typecasting” by Ludmila Praslova, Liana Bernard, Stefanie Fox and Aviva Legatt.
Creating an intersectional approach to inclusion
To truly include neurodivergent talent – beyond typecasting and half-measures – organizations need to consider neurodiversity in all its intersectionalities and create environments that welcome a full range of human differences. This can be done by creating an intersectional approach to inclusion at work. However, using a systemic approach does not always come easily or naturally. Stressors of organizational life, along with the lack of diversity in thinking styles, often push organizational decision-makers toward ineffective, individual-level solutions for systemic problems. Neuroinclusion on all levels of an organization can promote systems thinking
Neuroincluison in the workplace is well overdue. Simplistic and stereotypes-based solutions will not address this long-standing problem. But by inviting the participation of neurodivergent individuals as leading partners in all aspects of neuroinclusion, we can create thriving organizations.
5 book recommendations about neuroinclusivity by Tori Graham
A bit about
Tori Graham is podcast host of “What’s wrong with recruitment?” and talent partner at Bother. She is an advocate for neurodiversity inclusion in recruitment, specifically with respect to ADHD. She was diagnosed with ADHD a year ago and has since been raising awareness around the topic. Tori is part of the Breaking Bias Expert Panel and her focus area is neuroinclusivity, focus: ADHD.
In addition to the insightful articles by Ludmila Praslova, Tori Graham’s resource list offers a range of books that can be incredibly empowering and helpful for neurodivergent individuals.
Divergent Mind: Thriving in a World That Wasn't Designed for You
“Divergent Mind: Thriving in a World That Wasn’t Designed for You” by Jenara Nerenburg focuses on the power that comes from a fundamental difference in the way our brains are wired.
“The reason I love this book is because it doesn’t try to explain neurodiversity as ‘wrong’ or ‘different’”, says Tori.
This was also the first book Tori read following her diagnosis and it made her feel empowered to accept that invisible difference and embrace the many gifts she has thanks to her divergent mind.
ADHD an A-Z
Leanne Maskell’s “ADHD an A-Z” provides a personal perspective on ADHD, making it relatable for individuals with ADHD and helpful for neurotypical individuals looking to understand more.
In the words of Tori:
Neurodiversity at Work
Is it acceptable to say that we think this book should be mandatory for all managers & leaders to read this book?
¨Neurodiversity at Work” by Theo Smith & Amanda Kirby recognises the incredible contributions that come from hiring a neurodiverse workforce and does so in a way that is accessible and provokes disruption for the better.
The Autism and Neurodiversity Self Advocacy Handbook
“The Autism and Neurodiversity Self Advocacy Handbook” by Barb Cook can be particularly helpful for individuals diagnosed later in life, as it enables them to reclaim the power around their condition and create an environment in which they thrive.
“As someone who was diagnosed later in life, I thought my ADHD could be career ending”, Tori says, “I wanted to find a way to thrive WITH my neurodivergent brain and this book gave me exactly that”.
The Neurodivergent Friendly Workbook of DBT Technique
Finally, “The Neurodivergent Friendly Workbook of DBT Techniques” by Yevhenii Lozovyi offers a self-help book that uses non-traditional techniques to help individuals control anxiety and other mental health challenges.
In conclusion, neurodiversity inclusion in the workplace is well overdue, and simplistic and stereotype-based solutions will not address this long-standing problem. By inviting the participation of neurodivergent individuals as leading partners in all aspects of neuroinclusion, organizations can create thriving environments that welcome and celebrate all human differences.