Policies for neurodiversity

neurodiversity in mixed working teams - lunchtime discussion 07 June 2023

Notes captured by Adrian Ashton (https://linktr.ee/adrianashton)

Drivers for having a policy:

  • Recognition that interpersonal issues led to conflict and people leaving because of how they were (not) able to be managed.
  • Frustrations that what may be a reasonable adjustment for one person may cause another person to be unfairly disadvantaged.
  • Confusion as to where to ‘draw the line’ in what constitutes ‘reasonable’ when talking about reasonable adjustments (the organisation still needs to be able to exist and continue).

Types of neurodiversity typically being experienced and presented:

  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Dyspraxia
  • Dyslexia/dyscalculia
  • But with each of these there can be significant variances in how a person may benefit from different types of supports and considerations.

Overlaps with other policies

  • Identified that having clear comms policies can help better manage working relationships (clarity over which type of comms medium/channel to use depending on type of content and urgency).
  • Identified that having clear mediation policy (which emphasises importance of recognising ‘ways of being’ rather than attributing right/wrong) also pertinent to help progress resolving issues where relationships have come into conflict because of neurodiversity issue.

Designing a policy from the margins

  • Need to be explicit in a policy existing to present a framework approach: recognising that because of the diversity in neurodiversity, each person and circumstance will need to be managed on their/its own merits and specific needs.
  • Benefit of having openness and transparency amongst all team members in the style of a “how to work with me” type document (which also mirrors the systems used in managing mental health in the workplace, and Education, Health, and Care Plans for children with SEN).

Sometimes we can’t reconcile all the tensions

Important to recognise that sometimes, despite best efforts and intentions, “we can’t save everyone”, and people will feel a circumstance has been a ‘deal breaker’ for them, and so they leave; but that shouldn’t mean we start from a place of expecting defeat.

Support is available

Government’s ‘Access to Work’ scheme was profiled as a means of accessing additional resource to support a person (for example, the provision of additional admin support), as well as also being able to be used to offer support to a person’s wider working team in strengthening practices.


Thanks so much for sharing these notes Adrian! And to the whole group for your insights. Think the potential for conflict related to neurodiverse ways of being that you raise is so important to be aware of. As is the tension around what is a ‘reasonable’ adjustment and the differences in how different types of neurodiversities play out. Glad you guys got this conversation started on RadHR Let us know if there’s any way we can help facilitate more discussion round it (we can add it to the list of breakout rooms for the next Lunch Meet, for starters, if people are keen)


It’s really good to see this here.

As a person with autism it’s great that more and more people are grappling with how to accommodate different neurodiversities into work life.

Not so much a policy point, but more one on work culture. Having worked in activist spaces for a couple of decades one thing that has struck me (and fortunately I have been able to negotiate mainly by talking with people one-on-one), is to be aware that group work can be hard on people with autism (and I imagine in different ways for other neurodiversities), as we can appear to not want to engage, whereas often we’re just socially and emotionally unsure of what’s going on, and that not wanting to share etc doesn’t mean that we don’t care.