Initiatives That Advocate and Support Individuals Who Are Neurodivergent


1. Tailoring Corporate Experience

Right from the recruitment process to the final selection, the inclusion of methods that are neurodiversity-friendly is being inculcated by the corporates. Ensuring precise & accurate job descriptions along with necessary adjustments. For example, traditional one-on-one interviews may not be the best choice for people with Asperger’s who might avoid eye contacts which could be misinterpreted by the interviewer. Similarly, work accommodations like sensitive lighting and flexible schedules also act in support of the neurodiversity community and make them feel included. Lastly, sensitivity and awareness about neurological conditions are must-haves for all corporates to promote inclusivity and diversity.


2. NASA’s Neurodiversity Network (Sonoma State)


NASA's Neurodiversity Network (N3) intends to increase autistic and other learners with neurological learning differences participation in NASA initiatives. N3 will use specific learning modules to empower autistic learners with social and technical skills as part of NASA's Science Activation Program, which is constituted of teams across the country that enable learners of all ages and abilities to pursue science.


3. ENGAGE (University of North Texas - UNT)


During assessment and planning meetings, students defined personal, academic, and career goals. Through weekly meetings, workshops, and recommendations, ENGAGE personnel assist and advise students in achieving their goals. ENGAGE is committed to assisting UNT's neurodivergent students in transitioning to university life and pursuing their degrees. ENGAGE is part of UNT's larger neurodiversity initiative, which includes cohort housing, social skills and social support groups, counselling as well as many other student support services.


4. Microsoft’s Autism Hiring Program


The Autism Hiring Program, where eligible candidates are given an initial technical skills assessment; possibly a phone screening; and then an invitation-only, week-long campus event to determine if a candidate's skills and workability match the company's needs are part of the process for acceptance into the Autism Hiring Program. Onboarding assistance is provided to new hires, including career coaches and Microsoft mentors.


The Autism Hiring Program's greater goals, according to Microsoft, are to raise the percentage of Microsoft employees with learning differences and to reduce the high unemployment and underemployment rates for people with autism to encourage the inclusion of diversity & experience.


The event acts as a common platform among the firms that have already implemented neurodiversity hiring strategies, as well as companies interested in learning more about hiring individuals with autism, as well as specialists in the disciplines of neurodiversity and employment.


5. Ultranauts


Ultranauts is a software engineering firm with two objectives: to demonstrate that neurodiversity is a competitive advantage in the workplace and to provide exceptional customer service. Ultranauts has achieved both of these objectives as of 2019, with 75 per cent of their staff being on the autistic spectrum. They do this by employing non-traditional hiring processes that allow flexible neurodiversity job applicants to emerge out of their social anxiety, such as requiring applicants to pass a baseline competency assessment that analyses desirable software tester traits rather than performing traditional interviews.


References-

1. Michelle Morgan’s article on Four ways employers can support neurodiversity at work’.

2. EARN’s article on “Neurodiversity Hiring Initiatives & Partnerships


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