At various stages of the Foundation’s activity, we plan to implement various social campaigns, depending on which area of the subject matter we will be tackling at the time (e.g. educational, workplace, legal sphere.) We intend to attain these goals through, e.g. advertising spots, promotion of best practices from Poland and abroad, platforms to exchange information, training, publications, etc.
We plan to start our activity with a general campaign aimed at raising awareness of the issue of atypicality. By this we mean introducing the concepts of atypicality and neurodiversity, and providing the rationale for using them. At this very stage, we mainly want to show that atypical persons are complex and, notwithstanding their deficits, they do possess resources which come useful to society.
The neurodiversity among pupils and students relates to many aspects, including their ability to learn, which is rooted in various mental functions. The differences are about memorizing processes, concentration, creativity, imagination, and emotional states. We believe that the educational system should try to adjust to these differences and provide all children with equal opportunities so as to develop their potential.
Within the framework of our activities, we would like to implement the so-called inclusive and neurodiverse educational programs. Such programs already exist in the West and consist in creating classes for children with different learning abilities (both neurodiverse and neurotypical) and adjusting the teaching methods and conditions to suit these abilities.1 Such solutions would require giving support to those teachers who rank the need to prepare for work with neurodiverse children among their three top needs. Within the framework of such activities, we plan to e.g. run trainings and provide supervisions for teachers, propose scenarios for classes at different educational stages, and educational materials for children and their tutors.
Globally, more and more employers realize the benefits of creating diverse workplaces, also in mental terms. One such solution which facilitates selection of suitable candidates for work is the so-called neurodiverse recruitment program. Such programs have been devised while keeping in mind that not everyone is necessarily able to present their professional competences during a job interview in a way which appropriately corresponds to their actual skills. These programs, therefore, offer more flexible conditions and provide that candidates can be assessed e.g. through online testing.
As the Foundation, we would like to promote neurodiverse recruitment programs and workplaces adapted to various psychological profiles of employees. We would like to do this by e.g. showcasing best practices from Poland and abroad. Neurodiverse recruitment were first introduced some 10 years ago and their application does yield measurable benefits. They include increased productivity, improved quality, better innovative capacity, and enhanced employee engagement. Companies which already use such solutions include SAP, Microsoft, Ford, EY, Deloitte, IBM, JPMorgan, and many others.
COOPERATION WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
Another area of our activity is cooperation with other organizations in order to popularize neurodiversity. By this we mean non-governmental organizations, companies, and scientific institutes from Poland and abroad. We are already in discussion about initial projects with the M. Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and the Polish Society of Anti-discrimination Law.
1 Thomas Armstrong, (2018). ’8 Reasons Why We Need Neurodiversity in Education’, American Institute for Learning and Human Development
2 Robert D. Austin, (2017). ,Neurodiversity as a Competitive Advantage’, Harvard Business Review
3 Roberta Holland (2016). ’The Benefits of Recruiting Employees With Autism Spectrum Disorder’, Forbes