Normalizing neurodiversity in the workplace: communication challenges

Denis Boudreau
9 min readApr 26, 2023
Young man dressed in a blue shirt with a puzzled look on his face as he looks at the woman sitting across the table from him.
Photo credit — Shutterstock.

Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog post intended for inclusive leaders in organizations, related to the importance of working towards normalizing all forms of neurodiversity in the workplace. Much to my surprise, the post got a lot more attention and traction over social media than I expected it would, reaching well into the thousands of impressions on LinkedIn (which is uncommon). Clearly, this is quite telling, and speaks volumes about the need to keep having open, direct, and difficult conversations around neurodiversity, as we come to recognize the values and benefits of a truly diverse workforce.

Based on the traction, I decided that I would keep exploring this topic again this week. And so, today, I’d like to discuss some of the most obvious impacts that I’ve noticed neurodiversity can have on communication in the workplace. As you can probably guess, not everything is exactly sunshine and rainbows when it comes to neurodiversity inclusion. If we’re ever going to have honest conversations about neurodivergence, then acknowledging the elephant sitting in the room with us is a must. Because it’s a big elephant.

Building bridges for neurodiversity and communication

As our understanding of human cognition and behaviour continues to expand, the concept of neurodiversity has certainly emerged as an important aspect of the modern, inclusive workplace. And as our collective awareness around disability inclusion continues to grow, with it expands the realization that while neurodiversity introduces certain challenges when it comes to communication, it also brings many strengths and varied perspectives that add tremendous value to the workforce, and consequently, the business’s bottom line.

If you’re still not clear about what neurodiversity means, it refers to the wide range of cognitive and neurological differences among individuals, encompassing neurological and developmental conditions such as autism, ADHD, learning disabilities (dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, etc.), development speech disorders, as well as other related conditions that have to do with different wirings of the human brain. The language has evolved over the last few years, and some of the conditions that we used to broadly lump…

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Denis Boudreau

Helping leaders connect with the missing piece in their DEI efforts. Amazon BestSelling Author “The Inclusive Speaker". Speaker/Trainer/Coach. #neurodivergent