Neurodiversity and Inclusion Policy
Purpose and intent
The purpose of this policy is to guide staff and students (including Trustees) in their work, including overseeing work carried out on our behalf by others such as trainers, partners, and experts.
It is intended to complement, and add to, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy to provide additional information on this area of particular priority to LTA.
Our intent is for this policy and the inclusion impact assessment process to apply to all and not just those with a visible or obvious need, or a formal diagnosis.
This policy and our approach will be dynamic and continue to be updated as our learning grows.
What is Neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity refers to the diverse ways the brain may work and interpret information. It highlights that people think about things differently. We have different interests, motivations, and natural strengths.
Most people are neurotypical, meaning that the brain functions and processes information in the way society expects – sometimes also described as allistic. Many day-to-day tasks are designed in a ‘neurotypical’ way and therefore these may have an impact on someone who is ‘neurodivergent.’
However, it is estimated that around one in seven people (more than 15% of people in the UK) are neurodivergent, meaning that the brain functions, learns and processes information differently. Neurodivergence includes (and is not limited to) Attention Deficit Disorders, Autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia.
Why is this important for LTA?
Neurodiverse individuals, particularly people who identify as autistic, are more commonly found in, and well suited to data roles, so are likely to be within our staff team, trainers, and students. Therefore, it is an area where adjustments and initiatives might have more impact.
Types of Neurodivergence
Most forms of neurodivergence are experienced along a ‘spectrum.’ Each form of neurodivergence (such as dyslexia and autism) has a range of associated characteristics and these can vary from individual to individual. For example, the effects of dyspraxia on one person can be different to another person who also has dyspraxia. The effects on the individual can also change over time.
Additionally, an individual will often have the characteristics of more than one type of neurodivergence. It is therefore important that people are not stereotyped according to the better-known characteristics. For example, not all autistic people will be good at maths.
Despite this, it is still helpful to have an awareness of some of the indicative traits that each type of neurodivergence can have – and to recognise that it is common for diverse types to be professionally diagnosed together or to have overlaps in characteristics.
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders)
It is estimated that about 4% of the UK population have ADHD. It affects the person’s ability to control attention, impulses, and concentration, and can cause inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. Some people have problems with attention but not hyperactivity or impulsiveness. This is often referred to as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).
People with ADHD can often be good at completing urgent, or physically demanding tasks, pushing on through setbacks and showing a passion for their work.
Dyspraxia (also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder)
It is estimated that up to 5% of the UK population are dyspraxic. It relates to issues with physical co-ordination, and for most, organisation of thought. People with dyspraxia may appear clumsy or have speech impediments and might have difficulties with tasks requiring sequencing, structure, organisation, and timekeeping.
People with dyspraxia often have good literacy skills and can be particularly good at creative, holistic, and strategic thinking.
It is estimated that 10% of the UK population are dyslexic. It is a language processing difficulty that can cause problems with aspects of reading, writing, and spelling. They may have difficulties with processing information quickly, memory retention, organisation, sequencing, spoken language and motor skills.
People with dyslexia can often be particularly good at creative thinking and problem solving, story-telling and verbal communication.
Autism (which includes Asperger’s Syndrome)
It is estimated that about 1-2% of the UK population are autistic. It impacts how a person perceives the world and interacts with others, making it difficult for them to pick up social cues and interpret them. Social interactions can be difficult as they can have difficulty ‘reading’ other people and expressing their own emotions. They can find change difficult and uncomfortable.
People on the autism spectrum are often very thorough in their work, punctual and rule observant. Many autistic people develop special interests and can hold elevated levels of expertise in their given topic.
Here are our principles and approach:
Everyone deserves opportunities, encouragement, and support to realise their full potential.
A diversity of cognitive approaches is a source of great strength and value within a genuinely inclusive workplace and training environment.
All reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that policies, practices, and culture do not discriminate against neurodivergent people.
Staff members, students or trainers must not be subject to unfavourable treatment if they choose to disclose a neurodivergent condition.
Each person is unique and there can be a high degree of overlap between neurodivergent conditions. Consequently, any support needs must be identified and implemented on the basis of personal evaluation and individual consultation – not assumptions or stereotypes.
LTA will endeavour to:
Treat each staff member, trainer, and student fairly.
Identify and implement appropriate workplace and training programme adjustments.
Tailor management and training support to better meet the needs of the staff, trainers, and students.
Help its staff team, trainers, and student’s flourish.
Spot issues early and resolve them before they become serious.
Endeavour to ensure clear communication with Neurodivergent individuals which is appropriate for the individual.
Ensure a collaborative approach with Neurodivergent Individuals.
Endeavour to be flexible, whilst being mindful of the needs of LTA and our aims.
Adopt a person-led approach, together with an open dialogue which is inclusive and non-judgemental.
Create a culture where staff, trainers, and students feel safe to discuss their needs and to advocate for themselves.
Design services and programmes with accessibility considerations in mind.
Raise awareness of neurodiversity.
Where reasonable adjustments are necessary and can be accommodated, LTA will support these. Reasonable adjustments will be made on a case-by-case basis and will be agreed with line managers in relation to the employee’s job role. LTA will consider all requests for reasonable adjustments and respond to them in a timely fashion.
Adjustments may include changes in communications, ways of working, tools, coaching or external support, or other practical considerations.
Please contact a member of the training team for support or further guidance.