Neurodiversity has been a frowned upon conversation, if not abjectly disregarded, until recently. As our understanding of different modes of thinking widened; our acceptance of atypical mental conditions surfaced – we became more accustomed and welcoming to neurodivergent individuals. However, and, quite unfortunately, the unemployment rates of these individuals are still at 30% to 40%, which is three times higher than the rate for people with disabilities, and eight times higher than that of people without atypical conditions. Macropay’s Adam Clarke shares some insight into what it is like being a successful entrepreneur despite an unfavourable diagnosis.
What is Neurodivergence?
According to Boston University, neurodivergence is “an essential form of human diversity. The idea that there is one ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’ type of brain or mind or one ‘right’ style of neurocognitive functioning, is no more valid than the idea that there is one ‘normal’ or ‘right’ gender, race, or culture.”
Common Examples of Neurodivergence
Neurodiversity (or ND, for short) is often used in the context of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other neurological conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other learning disabilities.
How can neurodivergent individuals achieve success?
Taking from Adam Clarke’s experience in establishing Macropay in 2013, underlying mental health conditions can truly affect the entrepreneur’s mindset but not always for the worst. Oftentimes, it would call into question the possibility of success living with atypical conditions.
However, filtering out negative and often irrelevant external and internal opinions would help in focusing on the true goal — which is success. In Adam’s case, he embraced his ADHD diagnosis and turned it around to quickly think of novel ideas and ingenious solutions. Utilising his symptoms like increased bursts of focus has helped his journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Adam believes that having a mental health concern may be out of our hands. However, the fact that we must live with it means that it is our responsibility to overcome it.
Neurodivergent Individuals in the Workplace
Since Adam himself experienced difficulty navigating the business world, while living with ADHD, he is a firm supporter of inclusivity, especially in the workplace.
While it is true that individuals can turn their lives around by taking advantage of their atypical conditions; the fact remains that we do not exist in a vacuum. We are a society of humans living with others — typical or not.
Therefore, he practices these techniques to foster inclusivity and acceptance within the workplace.
Ways to Ensure Success for Neurodivergent Individuals
- Offering adjustments to an employee’s workspace according to their sensory conditions
- Using clear and kind communication toward everyone, not just ND individuals, to avoid the sense of separation
- Directly asking about their preference and work styles to ramp up productivity healthily
Adam recognizes the difference between every individual, and that these differences do not necessarily mean gaps. These are areas for creative solutions and acceptance. Because, after all, neurodivergence is not a hindrance. But rather, a fact that must be embraced and utilised for success.