In this article, we will explain how we feel assistive technology can have a direct benefit on the mental well-being of neurodiverse employees within the workplace.
What do we mean by neurodiversity?
When we use the word neurodiversity we are referring to the cognitive differences that come about as a result of experiencing ADHD/ADD, Dyslexia, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and a number of other conditions.
No one has the same experience of being neurodiverse because they all have a different profile of strengths and weaknesses that are affected by how they think. That said, there are some common trends of behaviour and difficulties that technology has been designed to support.
It is well known that without effective strategies for coping with the weaknesses associated with neurodiversity, one can potentially start to experience a drop in positive self-esteem.
Confidence and self-esteem.
The mental health charity Mind defines Self-esteem in the following way:
“Self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves. It's based on our opinions and beliefs about ourselves, which can feel difficult to change. We might also think of this as self-confidence.”
In a 2019 survey of 1300 parents of children with dyslexia, 89% of the parents indicated that their children experienced poor self-esteem related to their dyslexia. Whilst dyslexia itself doesn’t affect mental well-being, it is the experience of being a ‘different thinker’ within contexts such as school, college, and the workplace, that bring about thoughts about oneself that can either be uplifting or cause one to feel low.
When one is made to play to their weaknesses, as is often the case with dyslexia and other neurodiverse conditions, one can experience prolonged overwhelm and find it hard to have the confidence to do new things, especially if one feels that they don’t have what they need in order to work at their best.
One of the most common difficulties is the reading and comprehension of text, be they in printed form or on screen. Some individuals with neurodiversity may find reading extremely tiring and struggle to make use of the information being presented which affects concentration, focus, and working memory.
Overcoming challenges with accessing text within the workplace with TextAid.
One example of how assistive technology can help with difficulties associated with neurodiverse profiles that are heavily related to dyslexia is when text is accessed using a multisensory strategy such as using technology to read out the text.
When so much communication of information is presented in the written form within many different contexts, when one has a difficulty with comprehending text then it is no surprise that this can affect self-esteem and one’s mental well-being.
Assistive technology such as TextAid can provide the user with the ability to comprehend text through the use of software reading the text out. One can discretely, use headphones within the work context to listen to that text being read out whilst also following the text with one’s eyes. The use of TextAid encourages the use of multiple senses to work with the text resulting in better comprehension and productivity. Being able to access text more effectively can then help with undergoing related tasks and thus help to improve confidence and self-esteem as the user is more successful.
The video below shows how TextAid works:
When one starts to believe that they are not good enough because they are working to their weaknesses, this has a knock-on effect within the workplace too. Surely it is in the interests of employers to seek support for their neurodiverse employees so that they can unlock their potential?
Find out more about TextAid within the workplace.
Want to know more about unlocking the potential of your neurodiverse employees? Click the banner below to find out more about how TextAid could be useful within your work environment.