Are you neurotypical or neurodivergent?

Are you neurotypical or neurodivergent?

Let’s discover together how to make workplaces more equal and inclusive, by promoting neurodiversity at work

What is Neurodiversity? How it relates to workplace? What is the role of continuing VET and linked services in making SMEs and microenterprises “neurodiversity smart”, anticipating the needs coming from the labour market and the society as a whole? FORMA.Azione is coordinating the transnational partnership of Neurodiversity at Work project to find common answer to these questions, starting from the assumption that inclusive practices around Neurodiversity are an asset for companies, with the potential to guide them towards a more equal and prosperous future.

Neurodiversity describes the natural variation in human brain functioning: it means that each one of us has different methods of learning and processing information. It refers to the variance of the human brain through the lens of differences instead of deficits or problems.

The rationale behind the project is to start thinking that Neurodiversity in enterprises’ staff represents a source of talents who are usually not considered under this light, because of:

• lack of knowledge and competences about Neurodiversity and what it means in practice when referred to adult workers;

• reduced availability and low awareness of HR managers and employers, in general of assessment processes and procedures adequate to neurodivergent persons;

• lack of structured systems and methods to support possible neurodivergent workers to make value out of their skills, instead of simply place them in less-qualified positions which are taken for granted as the only ones adapt to their not investigated capacities.

Promoting Neurodiversity at work, indeed, means making value out of the talents of people who think differently, with specific reference to dyslexia, autism, ADHD and dyspraxia and other Specific Learning Differences, To support this paradigm shift, the Neurodiversity at Work partnership is launching the Neurodiversity Awareness Raising Strategy, intended as a means to build a shared transnational model for “raising the issue” in SMEs and microenterprises with reference to the inclusion and wellbeing at workplaces of people with Specific Learning Differences.

The Awareness Raising Strategy is intended as a comprehensive document that can support SMEs in starting to inform and make employees, and all the other relevant stakeholders, aware about the importance of introducing the concept of Neurodiversity in the workplace. Through detailed actions per target groups, Neurodiversity should be not only better known but also promoted as an asset for business. The Strategy is also more relevant if we consider that COVID 19 increased the inequality among employees, by putting those less equipped with both digital skills and/or whom leaders were not investing enough on, at risk of marginalisation or de-qualification. Among them, those who are the most unknown in companies, almost invisible, are people affected by Specific Learning Differences, and other neurodiverse conditions. This also led to management and professional career development practices, as well as workspaces, being designed only with neurotypicals in mind, not considering the Neurodiversity of the workforce.

The Strategy and the reference awareness raising materials, in 4 different languages (EN, IT, BG, DE) are available HERE for both VET providers, SMEs, microenterprises and all relevant stakeholders who would like to start working for promoting Neurodiversity at the Workplace.

In June, the partnership will organise Study circles with SMEs and microenterprises’ management and staff, with the aim to co-create a (r)evolutionary inclusion model, that will be piloted in with the final aim to equip business leaders and staff with an appropriate set of strategies and tools to introduce and practice Neurodiversity in the workplaces. This will support innovation in continuous VET, contributing to strengthen its role as driver for a more inclusive and sustainable world of work.

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The project has been funded with support of the European Commission. The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the view sonly of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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