With April representing World Autism Month, Amiqus’ Liz Prince spoke with Giorgia Molinari, the new head of corporate and games partnerships at Autistica.
What is neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity is the term for variability in the brain and cognitive skills, such as thinking and processing information, learning and memory, and emotional or social skills. The term reflects the idea that people experience and interact with the world around them in different ways and that diverse ways of thinking can bring great value to societies.
Whilst we all see the world differently, research suggests that one in seven of the population is neurodivergent. This includes people who are autistic, and those with dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, and Tourette’s syndrome. Many neurodivergent people have more than one diagnosis.
What can studios do to support neurodivergent individuals – at the recruitment stage, and then within the workplace going forward?
There are lots of small changes employers can make or offer to staff. Many cost nothing and benefit all staff. We have recently launched the Autistica Employers Guide to Neurodiversity, an online guide on neurodiversity in the workplace for companies and studios keen to learn more about the topic. The guide currently features three main resources:
- Inclusive interviews
- Making your workplace accessible
- Talking about autism and neurodiversity
What is meant by ‘reasonable adjustments’?
For neurodivergent staff, small changes to the environment, employment processes and communication styles can make a big difference to how comfortable, productive and included they can be at work. These reasonable adjustments will look different for every person.
For example, some neurodivergent staff may prefer written instructions to verbal – allowing them time to process the information, or may opt to wear noise cancelling headphones in the office so that they can concentrate better.
What can neurodiversity bring to the workplace, particularly in the games industry?
Autistic and neurodivergent people can have cognitive strengths and abilities that can outperform their neurotypical peers. These include:
- Ability to avoid cognitive biases
- Creativity and innovative problem solving
- Higher sustained concentration and distinctive logical abilities
- Particular interests or expertise
- Superior attention to detail
- Loyalty and strong work ethics
How can studios raise positive awareness of neurodiversity across their organisations?
We have just launched our World Autism Acceptance Campaign #HireDifferent to help the world understand why interviews aren’t working for autistic people. We’re calling for employers to make small changes that will make a big difference to autistic talent. We would love your support to develop research-based recommendations to support autistic people and employers. Watch our campaign film, download our Employers Guide and join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #HireDifferent.
How can Autistica Play help studios?
It is clear that neurodiversity is the next talent opportunity, yet many employers don’t know where to start. Just three in 10 autistic people have a job, and together we can change that. We have designed an employment offering to provide companies with an objective understanding of their neurodiversity landscape, as well as an evidence-based set or recommendations for improving current workplace and recruitment practices and minimising unconscious biases.
This support draws on seven years’ worth of evidence on neurodiversity in the workplace, giving companies a best-practice approach to making sustainable adjustments. For more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org