Neurodiversity and Disability Support

Neurodiversity and how the PSW can support you

Neurodiversity is the human diversity of our mind and brain, following many differences in us as individuals, our brain function and behavioural traits.

Neurodiversity in the workplace

The most typically occurring conditions in the workplace are classed as disabilities under the Equalities Act 2010.  These are listed below;

Dyslexia: A general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, dyslexia does not affect intelligence.

Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (formerly known as Dyspraxia): DCD (Dyspraxia) is a common disorder that affects movement and co-ordination, DCD does not affect intelligence but can affect tasks requiring balance, sports, learning to drive and your fine motor skills such as writing and using small objects.

ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder): Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour.

Autism and Asperger’s syndrome: Autism is generally characterized by social and communication difficulties and by repetitive behaviours. Often, severe forms of ASD are often diagnosed in the first two years of a child's life, but high-functioning individuals may not be diagnosed until much later in life

Tourette Syndrome: Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics.

Acquired Brain Injury: Refers to any type of brain damage that happens after birth. Causes of ABI include disease, blows to the head, alcohol and drug use, or oxygen deprivation.

Chronic neurological conditions: Is any disorder of the nervous system. Structural, biochemical or electrical abnormalities in the brain, spinal cord or other nerves can result in a range of symptoms. There are many recognized neurological disorders, some relatively common, but many rare.

 

Mental Health: Mental health is an impairment of mental functioning that is often accompanied by distress.

Workforce Wellbeing and Mental Health Support: https://www.practitionerhealth.nhs.uk/accessing-the-service

 

Employers are obliged to put in place “reasonable adjustments” for employees with disabilities under the Equalities Act 2010.

Those with neurodiversity have been finding ways around this since they were children and will have found different coping strategies to employ, this can in turn manifest as depression, anxiety and low self-esteem and the feeling that they are not as good as others, slower and need more time to understand instructions. Stress is big factor associated with the difficulties highlighted below and this may be a trigger for seeking help.

The more common difficulties of a neuro diverse nature that junior doctors/dentists are referred for are;

  • Time management
  • Planning and prioritising
  • Organisation
  • Distractions
  • Working Memory weaknesses
  • Processing Speed

 

How the PSW can help:

Screening: The PSW offer an online screening to determine any strong indicators of a neuro diverse condition, this is a series of 40 questions centred around work related strengths and struggles common to neuro diverse adults, this then determines if there is a need for a full cognitive assessment (see below for Covid restrictions related to this). The screening is followed up with a phone call from a Occupational Psychologist who will decide the next steps, as detailed below.

Full Cognitive Assessment: If your screening call determined the need for a full cognitive assessment, the PSW will arrange this support. A full assessment is a series of tests designed to help identify your strengths and weaknesses and be an indicator of specific neurodiversity. The findings will create recommendations for training, including additional time in exams, or reasonable adjustments in the workplace.

*Due to the current Covid pandemic, this cognitive assessment has been split into two parts. Part One is virtual and cannot give a full diagnosis but will give recommendations for training, including extra time in exams, this has been approved and accepted by all UK Examination Boards. Several of the tests used in these assessments require face to face interactions, as soon as restrictions ease, and face to face meetings can take place, Part Two will need to be completed, this will finish the full cognitive assessment and give a more specific diagnosis. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.*

Follow-up Coaching: Coaching may also be a recommendation from your initial screening call, the PSW will arrange this support. We offer 8 hours of coaching in total to be taken over a period of 6 months, these are structured, one-to-one virtual sessions. The sessions will focus on Memory, Time management, Stress/Anxiety and Organisation.

 

 

Disability Support

The PSW are developing and co-ordinating the support structures across HEE East Midlands for our doctors and dentists in training who have a disability, which will be based on the GMC’s Welcomed and Valued’ guidance. For more details on how the process works, please see our policy.

Equality Act 2010- “You are disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long term’ effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. More details can be found on the Gov.Uk website.

The Equality Act 2010 states that employees have a duty to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace for people with disabilities. This includes the local HEE offices, deaneries and other employers who recruit junior doctors, they also have a legal duty to avoid unlawful discrimination, whether direct or indirect.

HEE and the employing organisation have a statutory responsibility under the Equality Act 2010 to consider and make appropriate reasonable adjustments for those with a disability.

All East Midlands doctors and dentists training in the East Midlands, who have declared a disability will be supported throughout their training journey. You will have an allocated PSW Case Manager who will assist and co-ordinate your support plan.

 

 

Online resources

Neurodiversity: Genius Within have additional online resources to support for neurodiversity. This includes online courses and E-learning. Please contact our inbox on psw.em@hee.nhs.uk for the password to access this.

Access to work: If a trainee has a disability or a physical or mental health condition that makes it difficult for them to undertake day to say tasks in their job role they can access further support from Access to Work (ATW). Access to Work can offer advice on specialist equipment, adaptations or support worker services as well as help getting to and from work. It should be noted that ATW operate a self-referral system but will require confirmation and approval from the employer (the employer is the Trust you are currently working in). ATW will arrange a workplace assessment and subsequent report which will be shared with the trainee and the employer. The employer will then make the necessary arrangements to accommodate the recommendations detailed within the report.. Please click this link to find out further information.

Counselling: Pro-Counselling have an online wellbeing space.

 

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