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What is Neurodiversity and why does it matter to us all?

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

You might have heard the word neurodivergent recently. It is a word that encompasses the variation of how different brains work across the human population. The word “neurodivergent” was coined by Kassiane Asasumasu, to describe those who diverge from the “norm” or “neurotypical” in terms of their brain functioning. It includes, but is not limited to those who experience neurological differences such as: Autism, ADHD, learning differences such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia and mental health conditions such as OCD and Bi-Polar Disorder.

For a long time, it was believed that Autism and ADHD were childhood experiences and that people would grow out of them, and that they affected boys rather than girls. This led to a large number of women and girls, as well as boys and men, that do not fit the stereotypical profile being diagnosed later in life.

Switzerland is no exception to this situation, with assessment centres becoming oversubscribed by a surge of people coming forward with the suspicion that the struggles they have faced throughout their lives are a result of differences such as ADHD and Autism.

We would be naive if we did not recognise that this too affects our community.

We also understand that Neurodivergent individuals possess strengths not seen in the regular population, and these strengths are some of the things that the future workplace is crying out for. When we look at the top 10 skills listed by the World Economic Forum, we see Analytical Thinking, Creative Thinking, curiosity and lifelong learning, resilience, flexibility and agility ranked in the top 5. These are things that Neurodivergents excel at, so surely we are headhunting them and creating work environments where they can thrive?

In reality, this is not the case and we hear stories from our community of Neurodivergent women in Switzerland being too scared to disclose their differences or ask for support at work, because doing so can sometimes lead to discrimination or even unfair dismissal.

We want to see change, and want to be a catalyst for greater awareness of the huge potential of Neurodivergent individuals and how to create a work environment that can see that potential realised. We want to see the Neurodivergent women of WDS to celebrate their unique brains and be able to live in a society that supports and celebrates them.

Please join us on Thursday 19th October at 18:00 CEST to hear from 4 brilliant speakers all about the topic.

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