An Agile Approach to increasing Diversity & Inclusion in your Business.

The journey to increasing accessibility for those who are Neurodiverse can be a daunting process for organisations; however, if an agile approach is adopted more success will be achieved.

In order to truly ingrain a culture of diversity and inclusion into an organisation a top-down and bottom-up approach is required. Culture changes and shifts are very difficult for any organisation be it for their employees or customers; however, completing minor adaptations bring more meaning to the process and also provides greater opportunity for success and sustainability of the culture. With little changes and adaptations an organisation or company can greatly increase their accessibility levels for those who are Neurodiverse.

There are three primary steps that will ease you into your journey to increasing accessibility with a specific focus on those who have Autism Spectrum Disorders; a sensory environment assessment, awareness and equality training and adaptations.

The sensory environment assessment evaluates all areas of the environment and as a result recommendations are made. These recommendations focus on reducing the barriers to accessibility for the person while also providing the organisation with practical and low cost strategies to implement. The sensory environment assessment has been developed in parallel with our standards. We have developed standards of best practice that are based solely on research and evidence. An evidence based approach is essential in order to provide a high standard of service to employees and customers. The sensory environment assessment highlights the areas within your organisation; be it the office or store; that may present as a challenge for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders. For example, fluorescent lighting produces a vibration that results in the production of a buzzing sound. As neurotypicals we don’t hear this sound; however, many people with Autism Spectrum Disorders would which you can imagine would be very distracting within an environment.

The awareness and equality training module is essential for both employees and managers. This module instills a sense of empathy amongst people and colleagues and provides tools to implement to increase accessibility. Implementing a top-down and bottom-up approach with regards to training is key in ensuring that a culture shift is promoted and overseen from a management perspective. Managers are the champions in modelling best practice for increasing accessibility for those who are Neurodiverse. A buy-in from management is essential for all staff to observe and results in a ripple effect; thus, ingraining Neurodiversity into the culture of the organisation.

The final element of this initial process is the recommendations. The recommendations are derived from the sensory environment assessment and are informed by evidence. The recommendations provided are minor and low cost. For example, providing a sensory box to support people to utilise coping strategies to remain within their environment; reduce sensory stimulation at particular times or in particular areas.

By completing the above three steps your organisation is well on its way to becoming an accessible organisation for those who are Neurodiverse. myAccessHub works closely with organisations to ensure success is achieved within the three areas. myAccessHub believes that the future of work, retail, hospitality, education and society is Neurodiversity. Choosing Neurodiversity makes good business sense.

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Miriam O'Sullivan

CoFounder of myAccessHub

Miriam developed the Programme & Standards for myAccessHub. She has recently completed her Masters in Autism and Technology. Miriam has over 10 years experience working with Adults and Children with Autism

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