Neurodiversity in the Workplace


Neurodiversity in the Workplace

Posted on 04.01.24

In honor of Neurodiversity Celebration Week, Aptive’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) group recently held a lunch and learn session on embracing neurodiversity in the workplace. Over 130 employees participated, sharing stories about themselves and loved ones, along with tools and resources that have helped them adapt in a neurotypical world. These employees recognized the need to discuss, welcome and adapt to neurodiversity in the workplace. Increasingly, so are employers.

A simple definition of neurodiversity is the different ways a person’s brain processes information. People who are neurodivergent, according to the Cleveland Clinic, have different strengths and challenges from people whose brains don’t have those differences. These differences may stem from medical disorders, learning disabilities or other conditions, such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post- traumatic stress disorder. An estimated 15% to 20% of the U.S. population is neurodivergent.

Some employers who seek to create a more inclusive work culture are taking a closer look. “Organizations across all industries can benefit from supporting neurodiversity at work and tapping into the skills and talents of neurodivergent workers,” according to the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability and Inclusion (EARN). These skills and talents, says EARN, may include new ways of looking at and solving problems, high concentration levels, keen accuracy and error detection ability, innovation and creativity and the ability to excel at work that is routine or repetitive.

EARN created a toolkit to help employers recruit, hire, retain and advance neurodivergent workers. The toolkit includes information about management, peer training and mentoring; neurodiversity hiring initiatives and partnerships; the Neurodiversity at Work Employer Roundtable and other resources. The toolkit also has information about how to tailor the interview and hiring process to neurodivergent candidates.

Resources for the Workplace

Some lunch and learn participants, who said they only learned about their neurodiversity as adults, developed strategies to maximize their workplace performance. They were eager to share the following apps, tools and tricks with fellow employees:



  • Sticky notes and multiple calendars (color-code meetings) to remember tasks and events
  • OneNote to create daily “to do” lists, jot down random thoughts or document an overall “brain dump”
  • Focus in Windows 11


  • ADHD_love (Facebook page)
  • Buzzer or sound feature on phone as a reminder prompt
  • Fidget toys (gadgets for fidgeters to manipulate manually)
  • Recording devices or note-taking tools to remember meeting discussions/highlights
  • Short, intermittent work breaks (after 20 minutes, 50 minutes, etc.) to improve concentration and productivity

Creating an Inclusive Work Culture

One of the discussion’s takeaways is that neurodivergent individuals vary widely in their perceptions, reactions and how they process information. Colleagues should start from a place of understanding, rather than making assumptions about coworkers and neurodiversity. Participants stressed that educational sessions like Aptive’s lunch and learn help to create a culture and community of understanding.

“One of the key things to remember with any DEI initiative is that each employee is an individual,” said Kat Dame, vice president of workforce development at Aptive. “Tapping into and maximizing everyone’s individual talents and workplace contributions benefit not only the employee but your organization and employees overall. An inclusive work environment improves morale and is somewhere people want to stay.”






At Aptive, we believe that diversity, equity and inclusion are essential to our success as a company. We strive to create an environment where every employee feels valued, respected and supported, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, ability or any other characteristic. We are committed to fostering a culture that celebrates diversity and promotes equity and inclusion in all areas of our business.

Led by employee volunteers in our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Group, our approach is based on the following principles: Respect and appreciation for differences, equity and fairness, inclusion and belonging and education and accountability.

Visit our DEI Webpage to learn more