Five top tips for neurodiverse workshops

We often reflect internally about what we as a company were doing to be more inclusive. We have organised trainings for Diageo and Unilever teams, to help them think more inclusively and we wanted to learn more. And so, we partnered with Seeresearch to receive training from Adjust, on how to work with people who are neurodiverse.

Neurodiversity is the concept that we recognise, value and celebrate that we think differently.

In fact, 15% of the population are considered neurodiverse but fewer than 50 percent know it. There is both an emotional and business case for meeting the needs of neurodiverse people better. The emotional case is that not being included can feel the same as being excluded, so, by not taking the time to think about the shape, size and format of our products and the way our stores our laid out or reached digitally, we are excluding 15% of the population.

The business case is a no-brainer. By ignoring 15% of the population we are missing the biggest growth opportunity there is.

Here are some of the things we learnt about ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia:

To welcome ALL people to your sessions keep these principles in mind:

1. Always ask: Send out something in advance asking if anyone has a neurodiversity (this could be a form with a drop down menu of disabilities or a survey they fill in) and asking if we can do anything to support them better ie. include audio description, make text larger, supply different coloured paper or materials.
If you are inviting someone to understand more about their neurodiversity ask how they’d like to be referred to.
Never assume just because one person has a neurodiversity it will be the same case as another person who has it, the spectrum can range, for example, someone with dyslexia may find coloured paper useful whilst another won’t. Someone with blindness might be able to use a computer whilst another might only be able to use a phone.

2.Never put people on the spot: Always send things in advance if you’d like input. Let people digest information in advance, in the style they prefer and let them prepare to answer any questions.

3. Keep Instructions simple: if you’re briefing an exercise or instruction keep it short and give examples so people know EXACTLY what they need to do, and can save potential humiliation.

4. Play to peoples strengths: being neurodiverse just means you think differently. Invite people to problem solve in a way that feels comfortable for them. Diversity in a team whilst ideating or problem solving is much better as different thinking styles will see things others can’t.

5. Be flexible: if you are planning a consumer connect and the person you want to speak to can’t use the platform you usually use, for example, they are blind so find zoom a challenge. Be flexible and ask them how they’d best like to connect- be open to doing it over Skype, FaceTime or a WhatsApp call where you can’t see them. Ask if they’d like someone to accompany them on the call and be willing to do it at a time their companion can make it. Be patient and use listening and hobbies and interests to build a relationship.
Simplifying and being considerate are easy human behaviours we can use to make sessions more enjoyable for people with neurodiversities, but also people without them! So, remind yourself of these in the planning phase of all your sessions.

Please do get in touch if you’d like to discuss how to run a workshop with neurodiverse people and contact SeeResearch if you’d like to conduct research with neurodiverse people.

Thank you Adjust for such an eye opening training!


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