5 Ways Employers Can Have a Sensory Friendly Office

A plea to employers who want to make your environment more friendly for those who have sensory sensitivities:

Please watch this video and consider how many of these sensory accommodations will benefit MOST of your employees, not JUST your employees with sensory issues. Creating a more comfortable workforce is beneficial to your entire team.



How can Neurodivergent Consulting help you change the world?

Neurodiversity is the idea that neurological differences (Autism, Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, and others) are natural variations in the evolution of the human genome.

Making spaces more accessible to everyone.

Many organizations claim they want to be more inclusive but fall short due to an environment that is set up in a way that is off-putting, and unintentionally excludes, neurodivergent employees and individuals.

Is your organizational environment unintentionally discriminating against autistic and neurodivergent employees?

Neurodiversity seems like the new HR buzzword, and for a good reason. Neurodivergent employees are eagerly entering the workplace, bringing along fresh perspectives and valuable skills.

Do you feel your organization is truly inclusive? How do you ensure you are supporting and fostering a healthy work environment for all of your employees – neurodivergent and neurotypical? Are your current policies keeping (or chasing) neurodivergent workers away from your workforce?

Changing the world together.

Let Neurodivergent Consultants work with you in order to identify potential problem areas in your current organizational environment, policies, and structure. Helping you to create new policies that work to attract and, increase tenure, of current and future neurodivergent employees.

A Neurodivergent Rebel project.

Why the World Needs Neurodiversity

Neurodiversity relates to the way a person thinks and experiences the world.

The thoughts below evolved from a conversation with someone opposed to the theory on another blog. The opposer claimed neurodiversity ignores health problems commonly associated with the neurodiverse condition and questioned how identical twins could have one ND (neurodiverse) twin and on NT (neurotypical or “normal”) twin if neurodiversity is genetic.

I’m currently drafting another paper regarding environmental epigenetics to address the questions about twins, but the first statement, a misunderstanding of neurodiversity, I am addressing here.

Lots of neurodiverse people have co-occurring conditions (Anxiety, IBS, migraines, sensory overload, insomnia, etc.). These things can be disruptive to one’s life and may require medical attention. Nobody is trying to deny these medical conditions are, at best, an inconvenience.

Everyone has a genetic predisposition to some sicknesses, neurodiverse people just have a common list of accompanying illnesses.

The definition of neurodiversity is stretched when we include people under the umbrella who were not “born this way”. This is inaccurate and a problem.

Neurodiversity has opponents. Most opposers I’ve met say “What about X person, who will never live independently? How can you accept that they were supposed to be this way?”

The simple answer – because They ARE “this way”. The person in front of you is the person in front of you. Don’t focus on their flaws or wish for them to be someone else. Support them. Encourage them. Help the person in front of you to be the best person they can be.

Neurodiversity is about accepting people of all neurotypes (typical or otherwise). It doesn’t say that one type of brain is better than any other it simply says “There are a lot of brains in the world with many different strengths and weaknesses and all of them are important and valuable.”

There are people who argue against it, insisting that neurodiverse people are better off “acknowledging their own defectiveness”, instead of trying to love and accept themselves.

So why do we view ourselves in a positive light? Because we need to. We need to accept ourselves so that we can feel good about who we are as people. We are not broken people, less important because of our differences. We are living, breathing humans.

We need different types of minds, thinkers, and brains. To quote one of the greats, Albert Einstein, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Many of history’s great minds, Tesla, Mozart, Hans Christian Andersen, and even Einstein himself, have been noted as having neurodiverse symptomology. Although diagnosing them post life is impossible and speculative at this point.

I want to clarify that not every neurodiverse person will be a Mozart or an Einstein. We’re all over the place with our talents, skills, and abilities (but so are neurotypical people).

When you tell neurodiverse children they are defective they grow up with self-esteem issues, feeling broken and not good enough. If someone tells you that you’re “broken, stupid, or not good enough” your whole life you will begin to believe it.

It is essential that we build these kids (and adults) up so that they can be the best people they can be.

Neurodiverse people have a lot to offer society, but first, we must accept them. Neurodiversity is the key, a tool for acceptance.

Neurodiversity is a fact. It is coming. Is your organization ready?

Company Policies That Keep Neurodivergent Employees Out of the Workplace

Neurodiversity is the idea that neurological differences (Autism,  Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, and others) are natural variations in the evolution of the human genome.

Neurodiversity seems like the new HR buzzword, and for a good reason. Neurodivergent employees are eagerly entering the workplace, bringing along fresh perspectives and valuable skills.

Employers claim they want to be more inclusive but often fall short when policies and company culture are set up in a way that is can be off-putting for neurodivergent employees.

Are your company policies unintentionally discriminating against autistic and neurodivergent employees?

Open Offices – Collaborative and fun, open offices are a popular option for creative agencies and tech spaces, but these work pits can be overwhelming for those employees who may prefer a calm quiet workspace.

If your workspace utilizes an open office design, try to create spaces for employees to work away from typical office noise and commotion. Provide or allow employees to use noise-canceling headphones while working in open office areas.

Hot-desking – Forcing your employees to stay flexible by keeping them off-guard and always wondering where they are going to sit next. This tactic may not work well, and can even be stressful for, employees who prefer (and often depend on) rituals and routine to stay organized.

If hot-desking is the norm in your office, consider an area with assigned desks for employees in need of more structure.

Bad Lighting (fluorescent bulbs / bright lighting/window glares) – for people with sensory sensitivities bad lightning can be a real problem, leading to symptoms ranging from general discomfort to migraines, anxiety, and even seizures in some individuals.

Allow light sensitive employees seating options that allow them to have better control of their environment. Help your light sensitive employee by replacing, removing, covering, or turning off offending lights.  Employees may be helped by substituting overhead lightning for lamps.

Mandatory Fun – Neurodivergent employees may not find the types of activities that neurotypical employees enjoy fun. Happy hours in crowded bars and restaurants can be overwhelming and uncomfortable for people with auditory processing differences.

Don’t make “fun activities” mandatory and avoid statements that might single out introverted employees like, “It’s not mandatory but who wouldn’t want to go to ___________.”

Always give employees the option to easily skip out on office social functions.

Surprise Activities / Last Minute Meetings – Not everyone loves surprises. Respect the needs of your employees who are less spontaneous by announcing activities and sharing details related to team events in advance. The same can be said for last minute meetings.

Overly Formal Dress Codes –  I never feel myself when my hair is not a bright and vibrant color, in fact, when my hair is dull I feel very dull myself. Looking around at the faces in the autistic community, many of them have bright, beautiful, eccentric, hair or dressing styles.

Are overly stringent dress codes or any of the above policies keeping (or chasing)neurodivergent workers away from your workforce? Does your company have any of the policies above?

Do you feel your workplace is inclusive? How do you ensure you are supporting and fostering a healthy workplace for all of your employees neurodivergent and neurotypical?