Neurodiversity Ought to be a Natural Part of the Future Workplace
Carsten Lassen, CEO of Specialisterne, has a clear vision of the future workplace:
“Specialisterne is a place where neurotypical and neurodivergent people meet. And together we create an inclusive space that is quite unique. We create neurodiverse teams. I dream of making neurodiversity commonplace in the workplace.”
Specialisterne celebrates Autism Acceptance month in April 2022. This text is part of a series highlighting autism and neurodivergence as part of the celebration of Autism Acceptance in April 2022.
to Specialisterne, “autism acceptance” means working toward systemic change. We are aiming for a society that embraces and appreciates neurodiversity – both in the workplace and beyond.
Carsten Lassen believes Specialisterne should be an active participant in bringing about this systemic change:
“In the beginning, Specialisterne’s aim was very specific: increasing the number of autistic people in employment.” But now our goal is so much broader than that. We aim to mainstream neurodiversity as a natural part of any team by emphasising the competetive advantage of diversity in competencies. Specialisterne have mostly specialised in the “Autism Advantage” up until now. But in the future, we hope to hear people speak of the “ADHD advantage” too.
Advantages to neurodivergence
Specialisterne aim to make systemic change. And that requires us to take a different stance on neurodivergence than mainstream society.
Carsten Lassen proposes seeing both autism and other forms of neurodivergence as a natural part of humanity. This perspective allows us to fully tap into the hitherto untapped potentials of the neurodivergent population.
“Specialisterne is a part of the movement toward diversity and inclusion, as it pertains to neurodivergence. Diversity in a team is an advantage, both in society at large, but especially for the companies that have neurodiverse teams. The advantage comes in the form of the specific competencies and skills that neurodivergent people have. Up until now Specialisterne have focused on the Autism Advantage, but it is meaningful to integrate both the ADHD-advantage and the dyslexia advantage too. We currently do not see nearly enough talk of the advantages that come as a natural part of being neurodivergent, and that is a shame.”
Carsten Lassen hopes to see a broader discourse in coorporate circles embracing not just the Autism Advantage, but the advantages of many other forms of neurodivergence.
“Up until now Specialisterne has mostly focused on autism. But we are broadening our perspective, because we can see how different types of neurodivergent people can unlock their unique potential in the workplace – just by having the right framework and tasks.”
Break down the barriers in employment
Traditional recruitment practices are actively harmful to people with autism and similar qualities. This is an important reason why employment rates of autistic people are low. Specialisterne are dedicated to changing that. Which is why an important leg of Specialisterne’s services are autism-friendly recruitment processes. In our previous recruitment collaborations with large companies, we have witnessed first hand how the companies have benefited from the Autism Advantage– making the investment in an autism friendy recruitment process worth it.
Our experience tells us that autistic people need “a little extra” when it comes to having a healthy work environment. If a company accommodates these needs, it results in a good work environment that benefits everyone, not just the autistic employee. Specialisterne has a service dedicated to advising managers and teams, when a new neurodivergent colleague is hired. This has a positive pay-off for all employees, not just the neurodivergent employee. A good work environment for neurodivergent people is actually beneficial for all employees.
In other words: Specialisterne is dedicated to breaking down the barriers autistic and neurodivergent people meet, to make sure they can deliver their skills to society and workplaces.
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