October 26, 2021
Epstein's DE&I Committee held a lunchtime event yesterday to learn more about neurodiversity, which refers to individual differences in brain functioning being regarded as normal variations within the human population.
Jeff Snyder, our guest and host for the event, was diagnosed with autism at 21 months. He is the founder of the website "Going the Distance," in which he shares his experiences living on the autism spectrum and provides insight into the neurodiverse population and those who work in and interact with the community. Jeff serves as an advocate for autism by both educating the general public and supporting those who have autism.
Throughout his presentation, Jeff delved into myths about neurodiversity, which includes autism, ADHD and dyslexia, as well as how those with related traits can be an asset in the workplace. Some common myths are that those with autism dislike being social, lack emotion, drive or ambition, do not pay attention, and are inflexible. Throughout his work experience, Jeff shared with Epstein that he has found those with autism to be punctual, loyal, want their company to succeed, and actively look for ways to improve and reach goals.
Jeff also touched on some of the challenges within the workplace to be considerate of and suggested ways to better overcome those hurdles. For example, a discussion and advanced notice of a new manager can help facilitate that sort of transition. Additionally, clear processes and expectations can make a neurodiverse individual more comfortable and provides them with a distinct understanding of their role.
Jeff shared that he encourages employers to withhold judgement when interviewing, be open and willing to accommodate a neurodiverse person, find the best fit, and, most importantly, view neurodiversity as an asset, not a liability.
The overall presentation was enlightening, and we are glad to have a better understanding of some of the challenges those in the neurodiverse community may face in the workplace and how to better overcome them.
Many thanks to Jeff for sharing his time and expertise with us.