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
- 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.