Access to Work:

How to support neurodiversity in the workplace

With it being estimated that around 1 in 7 people are affected by neurological differences (including dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and autism), every workplace should strive to promote a neurologically inclusive environment – it’s our differences that make us great, after all.

In order for neurodivergent individuals to shine bright, they need to feel comfortable reaching out to their employers for the help they need, and employers should be aware of the support and tools they require. In the UK, guidance can be provided through Access to Work.

Whether you’re an employer or employee, here you will find all the information you need to ensure this is being achieved…

Did you know?

Key facts and figures

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Dyslexia Action estimates that 11.5 million people (around 16% of the world’s population) have dyslexia.

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Neurodivergent employees bring competitive advantages like creativity, lateral thinking and strategic analysis.

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According to the National Autistic Society, only 16% of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time employment.

Despite the great steps that businesses are taking to support diversity, neurological differences are easy to overlook because they’re not physical, and they’re often not talked about. Sadly, many neurodivergent individuals may not feel comfortable reaching out for the help they need or are simply unaware of how to do this – leading to unnecessary struggles.

Information for employers

As an employer, you should openly discuss neurodiversity with your employees and make them aware that they can approach you for support. This could be by discussing the challenges they face, providing them assistive software, or implementing workplace procedures and policies to help them do their jobs to the best of their ability.

You will be required to make “reasonable adjustments” to help disabled and neurodivergent employees, as well as those with a mental health condition. This could be by making physical changes to the workplace, adjusting their working hours, or providing them with assistive tech.

There are a number of assistive tech tools available on the market to help those with dyslexia, dyspraxia, and other neurological conditions process information and manage their time. These include spell checkers, text-to-speech software and e-reader pens, as well as Mind Mapping and Task Management software, such as Ayoa.

For employers: Access to Work

If they need more help after reasonable adjustments have been made, certain employees can also apply for the Access to Work grant through the UK Government’s Department of Work and Pensions. Although employees are required to apply for the grant themselves, you should make sure they know it’s available.

The grant can be for a total of up to £60,700 per employee, and if an application is processed within the first 6 weeks of the applicant’s employment with your company, you are more likely to be reimbursed 100% of the value of the assistance which is recommended in the report. You can make the most of the grant by introducing neurodiversity into your onboarding process for new starters.

For more information, please visit the UK’s official government website.

Information for employees

If you have a neurological difference, you’re entitled to be provided with the right support from your employer, including access to assistive tech to help you overcome the challenges you face in your everyday work. This tech can include spell checkers, text-to-speech software, e-reader pens, as well as Mind Mapping and Task Management software – such as Ayoa.

In the UK, you can gain access to this tech by applying for the Access to Work grant. This is provided by the Government’s Department of Work and Pensions and can give your business up to £60,700 to provide you with the tools you need.

To qualify for the grant, you must be in paid employment or about to start a new job. Before applying, you should speak to your employer about the reasonable adjustments they can make to help you do your job.

To submit your application, please visit the UK’s official government website. For more advice on the process, check out our blog on how to apply for Access to Work.

Helpful resources

If you’d like to learn more about neurodiversity and how tools like Mind Mapping can help neurodivergent individuals, check out our recommended articles:

Mind Mapping & Dyslexia
Dyslexia case study
What is Mind Mapping
Why Mindmap
Overcome challenges with mind mapping
Manage Workplace Stress
Vision for Neurodiversity

Additionally, further useful information can be accessed using the links below:

GOV.UK: Access to Work

What is neurodiversity and how can Ayoa help?

Dyslexia information

Assistive tech solutions from Spellex

Assistive tech from Ayoa

Ayoa combines Mind Mapping, Task Management and Instant messaging features in one visual and intuitive tool. To find out more about how Ayoa can help users process information, organize their workload, keep track of deadlines, communicate with their team when working remotely, and conquer any other challenges they may face due to their neurological difference, click here to find out more about our assistive software.

Click below to try Ayoa for free:

The business case for diversity has highlighted the importance of ‘diversity of thought’ – get people with different perspectives, backgrounds and experiences in a room, and your team will be more innovative and creative. In a sense, neurodiversity may be one of the most challenging areas within diversity and inclusion – complex, nuanced, and often invisible – yet it offers a business upside in this context: given that neurodivergent people literally think differently.
Neurodiversity at Work Guide - CIPD, 2018