Neurodiversity Celebration Week: focus on the basics

Posted by Devon Partnership Trust in News on 16th March, 2023

Neurodiversity Week banner

This week we have been joining in with the activities that have taken place to mark worldwide Neurodiversity Celebration Week (13-19 March).

We spoke to our Neurodivergent Staff Network to find out what they would like to share with colleagues during Neurodiversity Celebration Week. At the top of the list was a request to promote awareness of neurodiversity, an understanding of the basics and to dispel myths; such as that neurodiversity only refers to Autism and ADHD.

What is neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity is a broad term used to describe the diversity of human minds, the infinite variation in neurocognitive functioning within our species. A person whose brain ‘diverges’ from the majority can be described as neurodivergent. Around one in seven people are neurodivergent.

Neurodivergence can be genetic, the result of a brain-altering experience, or a combination of the two.

Neurodivergent conditions often come with pronounced strengths and areas in which people excel. However, there will typically also be areas where neurodivergent individuals struggle and may want to seek help.

You may have heard the saying: “If you have met one person with Autism, you have met one person with Autism.” This applies to all neurodivergent individuals, not just those with Autism. Each form of neurodivergence has a range of associated characteristics. These can vary from individual to individual and can change over time. It is also common for an individual to have the characteristics of more than one type of neurodivergence.

Some examples of neurodivergence include:
Autism, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Tic disorders such as Tourette’s syndrome

A glossary of terms in neurodiversity is available here Neurodiversity: Glossary of terms (

The above conditions often exist on a spectrum and can vary in their effects on different people. Some individuals with neurodivergent traits may wish to pursue a formal diagnosis, others may not for a variety of reasons.

How neurodivergence can affect employees at work
Many work environments are not set up to support neurodivergent employees. Although every individual is different, here are some ways in which employees can be impacted by neurodivergence at work:

  • Concentration and focus
  • Procrastination
  • Energy levels
  • Social interaction and communication
  • Spelling, reading and writing
  • Arithmetic ability
  • Organisation, planning and/or maintaining a schedule
  • Memory ability
  • Sense of direction
  • Vision and hearing

The benefits of a neurodiverse workforce
With the correct support, neurodivergent employees bring significant benefits and talents to an organisation, including:

  • Creativity and innovation
  • Lateral thinking and problem solving
  • Strategic analysis
  • Bringing a different perspective
  • Strong problem-solving and spatial reasoning capabilities
  • Consistency in tasks once mastered
  • Sustained attention to detail
  • Information processing advantage
  • Quality assurance
  • Dependability
  • Employee engagement