Neurodiversity Training: What to Expect and How It Benefits Your Team

A smiling woman stands in an office in front of a whiteboard giving a presentation. She is holding a clipboard and a pen.

By Larry Ross

The benefits of supporting neurodiversity in the workplace are well-documented, including increased productivity, improved retention, and access to an untapped talent pool. As companies seek to advance their learning and action in this area, many turn to specialized neurodiversity training to equip their teams with the necessary tools and understanding.

As a job coach at auticon, I’ve had the privilege of contributing to our unique neurodiversity training curriculum, which draws on the company’s decade-plus of experience in hiring and supporting neurodivergent talent. Understanding the complexities that HR, DEI, and Neurodiversity ERG leaders face when seeking neurodiversity training, I’ve crafted this guide to provide clarity on the process, content, and benefits for your teams and company.

auticon’s neurodiversity training operates in three key phases: initial awareness-building for the whole company; more advanced workshops to further the whole team’s learning on best practices for working with and supporting neurodivergent colleagues; and advanced guidance for HR and management to enact tangible changes for neuroinclusion across the employee lifecycle. Here’s a breakdown of each phase:

Neurodiversity Awareness & Foundational Workshops

Modules: Autism and Neurodiversity Awareness at Work, Neurodivergence and Autism in the Workplace, Neurodivergence and Co-occurring Conditions

Who it’s for: All teams across an organization can benefit from awareness and foundational training about neurodiversity in the workplace. An estimated 15-20% of the population is neurodivergent, which means your teams likely include neurodivergent people already, even if they haven’t formally disclosed. 

What to expect: An informational and engaging introduction to neurodiversity in the workplace and how to support neurodivergent employees, as well as a safe space to ask questions. 

What it covers: 

  1. Basics: What neurodiversity is and what it looks like in the workplace.
  2. Language: Definitions and language around neurodiversity and neurodivergence – what they mean, what to say, and what not to say, with a focus on the preferences of the autistic and neurodivergent community.
  1. Case Studies: Concrete examples of ways to support neurodivergent colleagues and create a neuroinclusive workplace that benefits all employees.
  2. Supports: Changes that you can implement in your workplace immediately to support neurodivergent colleagues—whether or not they have formally disclosed.

How you’ll benefit: 

  • Develop a clearer understanding of neurodiversity in the workplace.
  • Overcome common fears of talking about autism and neurodiversity and become able to have confident conversations on these topics.
  • Gain awareness that primes your team to take concrete action.
  • Build a foundation for more advanced training—and for your company’s overall journey to neuroinclusion.

Advanced Workshops for Neuroinclusion 

Modules: Workplace Assessments, Disclosure, Mental Health and Well-Being, Inclusive Communication

Who it’s for: All teams can benefit from this training that builds on the awareness sessions by providing deeper learning about how to handle disclosure of neurodivergence, work effectively with neurodivergent colleagues, embrace a diversity of communication styles, and support well-being.

What to expect: These highly informative and interactive sessions include polls and questions for attendees to get the most out of the training. They also include real-life examples and case studies from auticon’s majority-neurodivergent team to help you understand what these concepts look like in action—and how you can put them into practice in your day-to-day work. 

What it covers:

  1. Workplace Assessments: Understand the importance of conducting workplace assessments to identify areas for improvement in fostering neurodiversity and inclusion. Learn how to conduct assessments effectively, gather feedback, and implement changes that support the needs of neurodivergent employees.
  2. Disclosure: Explore the significance of disclosure in the workplace and the reasons why individuals may choose to disclose or not. Gain insights into best practices for responding to disclosure sensitively and supporting employees through the adjustment process.
  3. Mental Health and Well-Being: Learn how to create a mentally healthy workplace environment that supports the well-being of all employees. Understand co-occurring mental health conditions that are common among neurodivergent individuals. Explore strategies for promoting mental health, managing stress, and providing effective support.
  4. Inclusive Communication: Understand the complexities of communication in a neurodiverse workplace environment. Learn how external factors can influence communication dynamics and how to adapt communication styles to be more inclusive. Gain practical insights into fostering empathy, understanding, and effective communication across diverse teams.

How you’ll benefit:

  • Develop skills in conducting workplace assessments and implementing changes.
  • Learn best practices for handling disclosure sensitively and providing the needed supports.
  • Enhance awareness of mental health challenges and acquire strategies for promoting a mentally healthy workplace.
  • Improve communication skills to foster empathy and effective collaboration.

Advanced Workshops for Management and HR

Modules: Onboarding, Retention, Recruitment, Workshops for Line Managers

Who it’s for: The final workshops in the series are tailored for Human Resources teams, leadership, and managers, as they focus on policy and practice change for neuroinclusion as well as advanced management training. 

What to expect: These supportive, highly customized sessions include interactive polls and questions, as well as real-world examples from auticon. The trainers incorporate your company’s specific goals and needs to start mapping out concrete policy changes you can make across the employee lifecycle. We use data from your workforce, via our neuroinclusion assessment, to further personalize the training process for your leadership teams.

What it covers: 

  1. Onboarding: Explore strategies for creating a neuroinclusive onboarding process that sets employees up for success from day one. Learn how to tailor onboarding experiences to accommodate diverse needs and ensure a smooth transition into the workplace.
  2. Retention: Dive into the factors influencing the retention of neurodivergent talent within your organization. Identify best practices for providing ongoing support, career development opportunities, and creating an inclusive work culture that promotes long-term engagement and satisfaction.
  3. Recruitment: Examine the recruitment process through a neurodiversity lens and discover how to attract, assess, and hire neurodivergent candidates effectively. Learn strategies for removing barriers to entry, creating inclusive job descriptions, and conducting interviews that accommodate diverse needs.
  4. Workshops for Line Managers: Equip line managers with the knowledge and skills necessary to support neurodivergent employees effectively. Explore topics such as effective communication, conflict management, and providing reasonable accommodations. Empower managers to foster inclusive team environments and maximize the potential of all team members.

How you’ll benefit: 

  • Understand the benefits of neuroinclusive practices across every stage of the employee lifecycle.
  • Reflect on your current policies and practices and identify specific opportunities to advance neuroinclusion.
  • Enhance recruitment practices to attract and hire neurodivergent candidates.
  • Ensure that neurodivergent employees are well-supported at every step.  
  • Empower line managers with the skills and knowledge to support neurodivergent employees effectively.

Along with a neuroinclusion assessment and customized advisory services, neurodiversity training serves as a foundational pillar in your company’s journey to neuroinclusion. By undertaking this process with the right neuroinclusion partner, you’ll learn how to create inclusive environments where every employee can thrive and teams can experience the benefits of neurodiversity. It’s a strategic investment in the well-being of employees, the enhancement of team dynamics, and the sustainable growth of the organization.  

If your company is ready to take the next step, contact us to discuss training opportunities and learn how our full suite of Neuroinclusion Services can help you achieve your inclusion goals.

About the Author

Larry Ross is a Job Coach and Program Success Manager for auticon US. He has over 12 years of dedicated experience supporting and advocating for neurodivergent people. Prior to joining auticon, he worked within the educational sector as a special educator and principal. Larry holds a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management from Western Governors University.

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