AI and Neurodiversity – classroom to staffroom
AI and Neurodiversity – classroom to staffroom

AI and Neurodiversity – classroom to staffroom

Ever played “Yellow car?” It is a simple car journey past time, that should need little explanation beyond it’s game title. I raise it, simply because, once you’ve played your first game of “Yellow car,” it is almost impossible not to notice yellow cars, everywhere. Most recently, I have tuned into the complexities of Special Education, with a heighten awareness to the educational issues associated with neurodiversity. And now, I am noticing references to neurodiversity, everywhere.

Once you notice, that next steps is to start connecting the dots. So I have been connecting the dots between the 2024 DfE SEND data, recent NHS reports, various Performance Management Daily – “PM Daily,” posts, with reference to neurodiverse profiles, and in the media outlets more widely.

It is disheartening to read that many neurodiverse individuals report negative experiences of school, in education more widely, and then through recruitment processes and into employment. And I remind myself, we are speaking up for 14% of the UK population. Hence, I went onto to read about the responsibilities of employers and I also explored the reported opportunities for employers, when considering neurodiverse employees joining their workplace.


For employers, there is absolutely an opportunity to attract diverse talent and foster innovative thinking. In general, the People Professional underlines the importance of employers to promote inclusivity, actively encourage a diverse pool of applicants, provide reasonable adjustments, and then monitor disadvantaged or diver groups for equal pay and positive action.

To be crystal clear. I am not a CIPD or legal expert.

Under the Equality Act 2010, an employee is classed as disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities and lasts more than 12 months. Therefore, an employee does not need to have a diagnosis. Adjustments needed will differ for everyone. Even with a reasonable adjustment, support may need to be extended.

As I was reading about these employer responsibilities, I also read about using AI as a reasonable adjustment. Like “a ramp to your workplace for disabled people,” AI was presented as a reasonable adjustment that could support neurodiverse people accessing neurotypical workplaces (as it might in education). One employee commenting that they use AI to “…outsource my challenge without having to overly explain why [to another human].” Interesting. (This non-human judgement also resurface when exploring conversational agents or chatbots as therapeutic solutions, a topic I am current drafting a post on.)

AI opportunities in the staffroom

Think – autogenerated closed captions on video communications and AI generated meeting transcripts (eg to record and organise meetings), voice assistants to complete certain tasks (I have been “tracking” voice to text for about ten years). Tool to Formalise your writing, or BLUF your emails, or Judge how your writing is likely to sound to others, and even suggest possible responses to emails received.

(Apparently, when I asked AI to judge this blog post, it comes across as “thoughtful and reflective,” and the author seems to have a “genuine interest in the topic of neurodiversity and its implications in both education and the workplace.” For the record, I do.)

Next, poor executive functioning skills impact planning and organising. Steps up AI with a range of tools available to break down larger tasks, provide organisational support, set reminders, schedules, or prompts.

Then, a little out-off-the-box – AI-powered sensory management tools. Adaptive lighting, noise-dampening/cancelling technology and sensory-aware space design / retreat spaces. Workspaces and conditions is an interesting area – but I stopped hear. I did not wish to stray too far.

In summary, I get the sense that those employees with invisible disabilities and neurological differences would feel grateful to employers seeking to create a supportive and inclusive environment where using AI is encouraged and assistive technology is normalised – a small change for some, that clearly benefits all.

Just a week are posting – I read that two-thirds (64 per cent) of neurodiverse employees say they should receive more help from their employers, that they feel under-supported at work. 


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