The Autism at Work summits are a set of annual conferences held around the globe to celebrate and encourage a neurodiverse workforce. Neurodiversity is the collective term to indicate persons who have a neurologically divergent development, and/or a mental health disorder. According to the National Symposium on Neurodiversity (2011) held at Syracuse University,
“Neurodiversity is a concept where neurological differences are to be recognized and respected as any other human variation. These differences can include those labeled with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome, and others.”
The purpose of recognizing neurodiversity is to note that while each of these disorders hold challenges for the affected population, they often also bring unusual abilities. For example, autistic individuals tend to have an innate ability to focus on details and see patterns; those with ADHD have a powerful ability to hone their attention; dyslexics have exemplary spatial ability and strong creative minds; depressives are also artistic and often deep thinkers—even those with mania or schizophrenia, disorders that seem severe or dysfunctional, can offer immense insight and novel ideas where the typical brain misses out.
Hiring neurodiverse is a positive choice for social welfare and a highly valuable resource to organizations. The autism at work summits aim to engage a greater audience to see the resulting benefits of better engaging the skills and interests of all employees, not just those on the autism spectrum. —Autism at Work, “About”