The power of neurodiversity at work. Adam's story.
Adam, who is autistic and was diagnosed with ADHD a year ago, is a Project Coordinator at DCC. He told us about his experience of being neurodivergent at work, and what he’s been doing to raise awareness and understanding in this area.
“I joined the DCC in September 2021 as a Resource Deployment Analyst and I’ve recently been promoted to the position of Project Coordinator where I will be providing support for the delivery of key projects and programmes, ensuring correct processes and procedures are followed and deadlines are met.”
" Joining an unfamiliar working environment was quite daunting.
“I was upfront about my neurological conditions during my initial interview and my manager has been very accommodating in terms of reasonable adjustments to help me be my best self at work.”
Reasonable adjustments are changes that must be made by employers to remove or reduce disadvantages that a person may experience at work. These could include changes to the workplace, equipment, requirements, or the way things are done.
“People with ADHD can be different to manage than neurotypical people – for example I can struggle to process information when I’m mentally tired, and verbal instructions can be more difficult for me to remember and understand.”
By making small adjustments, such as providing written confirmation of actions agreed verbally and not allocating complex or lengthy tasks at the end of the working day, Adam’s manager has ensured he can work effectively and that the effects of his ADHD and autism on his work are minimised.
"Adam is passionate about raising awareness of neurological conditions in the workplace.
“The world of work wasn’t designed for people with neurodivergent brains, so I think it’s vital that more people are made aware of neurodivergence. There are a lot of stereotypes (mostly on TV and in films) around certain conditions, particularly ADHD and autism - but autistic people are not all mathematical geniuses and ADHD doesn’t make everyone ultra-hyperactive!”
Stereotypes are something Adam has encountered countless times both in and outside work, and this can lead to preconceptions of certain conditions.
“I’d suggest that if someone is unsure, doesn’t understand or wants to learn more about neurodiversity then it’s always best to ask someone directly how their condition affects them, and what can be done to support. However, it is important to remember that for some neurodivergent people, discussing their condition at work is very awkward and can make them feel embarrassed or uncomfortable, as they don’t want to be viewed as not ‘normal’ by co-workers.”
"Adam recently delivered a webinar for his DCC colleagues to educate and inform them on ADHD and provide guidance on how they can offer support.
“I was blown away by the amazing feedback I’ve had from colleagues and am really inspired to do more. I’m now involved in several Diversity and Inclusion initiatives within DCC and am helping to run an employability and skills workshop for neurodivergent school leavers as an ambassador for the DCC.”
“My advice to anyone facing similar challenges to myself would be to remember that your condition doesn’t define who you are.
“Don’t be embarrassed to be yourself at work, and always be upfront about any adjustments you may need. Most people will be more than willing to help, but they can only do so if they know about it.”
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