top of page

NeuroDiverse Environments

Neurodiversity is not a problem to be solved, but rather a natural and valuable aspect of human diversity.

Neurodiversity refers to the natural variations in human brain function and development, including differences in how people think, learn, and process information (1). This includes a range of neurodevelopmental conditions, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and others. In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of creating neurodiverse environments, particularly in the workplace where neurodiverse persons can face significant challenges in finding and maintaining employment. To better understand the importance of neurodiverse environments, it is essential to define what neurodiversity means and its significance in the workplace. In this article, we will discuss what Neurodiverse Environments are and understand the impact of Neurodiversity on individuals and society, implementing Neurodiverse Environments and creating a culture of inclusion. In full transparency, I live with ADHD, ASD, and OCD. I am also a full-time student at Harvard University’s Extension School within their Division of Continuing Education, and I’m a full-time Businesswoman and Philanthropist.

(2) Image Credit: Tara Vasanth

A neurodiverse environment is one that values and respects the diversity of persons and their neurological differences. This type of environment seeks to create a culture of inclusion, where all persons feel valued and supported, regardless of their neurodevelopmental conditions and experiences (3) . A neurodiverse environment is inclusive of the needs of neurodiverse persons, providing accommodations and support services to ensure their success.

The importance of neurodiverse environments in the workplace cannot be said enough. Neurodiverse persons often face significant barriers to employment, such as prejudice and lack of understanding about the challenges one may experience. This can result in unemployment or underemployment, which can have a significant impact on the economy, as well as on the mental health and well-being of neurodiverse persons. In contrast, neurodiverse environments can provide neurodiverse persons with the support and accommodations they need to succeed in the workplace, which not only benefits the individual but also contributes to a more diverse and inclusive workplace, where all employees can thrive, unapologetically.

Understanding Neurodiversity

There are a lot of different neurodevelopmental traits that fall under the neurodiversity umbrella. Some of the most common include autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and others like dyscalculia (4). These conditions can affect an individual's ability to process information, communicate with others, and complete tasks. In my world, I find myself able to compile and sort information like in a game of Tetris. It's as if my brain and eyes are in-sync. I’m able to look at a situation and the solutions almost “highlight” themselves and I can, then, build out accordingly. The downside to this is that I have to disengage. Otherwise, everything is “too loud” and I aggressively shut down. It is important to note that neurodiversity is not a problem to be solved, but rather a natural and valuable aspect of human diversity.

Neurodiversity can have a significant impact on the lives of persons and society as a whole. For neurodiverse persons, their differences can often result in barriers to employment, education, and social engagement. The lack of understanding and conversation around Neurodiversity has created a system of “othering” and isolation in these persons, which is a shame because 15-20% of the world’s population exhibits some form of neurodivergence (5). Society can benefit from a more inclusive and supportive environment that values and celebrates neurodiversity, leading to a more innovative and diverse workforce.

Inclusive and supportive environments play a crucial role in the success of neurodiverse persons. By providing accommodations and support services, neurodiverse persons are empowered to reach their full potential and succeed in their chosen field. Furthermore, inclusive and supportive environments help to combat stigma and discrimination, promoting a more diverse and accepting society (6). It wasn’t that long ago that many employers mistook neurological differences, such as Autism and Dyslexia, as a sign of low intelligence, carelessness, or lack of ability. These mistakes often left neurodivergent persons feeling neglected and abused. Thankfully, there is a lot more education around the subject, and employers and educational institutions can modify environments to accommodate; the key is to do so without “othering”.

“If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”

-Dr. Stephen Shore

Special Education Professor, Adelphi University, Advisory Board Member

My Experience

I am rather open about my own experiences with ASD and other things. I'm often asked, "How do you get so much done?" I usually laugh and say that my brain just knows what to do. Much like I described above, my brain kinda runs its own auto-code and the "solution" becomes present. A complication is that I don't always know how to explain how I got the answer, just that I know it. Other times, even when I 100% know the answer, my brain "won't let it out". This happens a lot with multiple-choice exams. It's almost as if my brain doesn't trust itself with the options available. Another challenge is that there are times when I become obsessive about the placement of things (like items on my desk), the organization of things (like my closet and fridge), and the worst of all is when everything around me is "too loud"...even if there aren't any loud sounds. It can be as simple as the motor of the fridge, the plastic from a bag being opened, the keys being pressed on a keyboard, and/or a car honking its horn outside. A really complicated one is when the psychical presence of a person is "too loud". They don't have to be doing anything or saying anything, but their presence is too much and I need to go into a quiet space. For me, this usually means my bathroom's bathtub with the curtains closed, or I have to open a window.

What is happening to me internally is exhausting. It's as if 3 million people are speaking to me at once. Everything in me wants to scream, but I can' I have to disengage. To some, this might sound like a panic attack. It's not. What I am experiencing is sensory overload. It can be frustrating because I have very great hearing. So you can imagine that all the little sounds can be a lot. It doesn't help when my thoughts "popcorn" like crazy. It can be a lot, but I manage well. I was prescribed Adderall, which seemingly helps my desire to popcorn, lessen. Though, right now there's a massive shortage of my seizure medications and it's a very interesting time. Growing up with these challenges wasn't easy as we didn't always have a word or way to cope with them. I'm considered high functioning, but that's because I had to master "control" in order to manage the significant responsibilities that I grew up with. In the POC community, mental health and learning curves just weren't a "thing" that was discussed. We're told to "stop acting crazy", "just sit still", "answer the questions" and "quit playing dumb". I hope that , as society grows, persons no longer have to be treated in such ways.

As a leader, it can be complicated because I don't always have the option of telling the world to be quiet when my team members need my attention. This is why I have to implement boundaries and coping tools like Time-Blocking to ensure balance. I'm a strategist at my core, so my brain is constantly running and problem-solving. This means that my self-care routine is a top priority if I want to be capable of doing my work at the high level that I do it.

Accommodations in Neurodiverse Environments

There are a lot of ways to employ accommodations. Flexible work schedules are one of the big ones that come to mind and can be a valuable accommodation for neurodiverse persons. This can include options for flexible hours, remote work, or other arrangements that allow for a more personalized work schedule. By offering flexible work options, neurodiverse persons can work in a way that best suits their needs, leading to improved job satisfaction and performance. The autonomy directly shows the individual a level of trust which directly impacts their progress and self-esteem.

Another major tool is Assistive Technology, which can play a critical role in the success of neurodiverse persons in the workplace. This can include a range of tools, such as text-to-speech software, screen readers, and speech recognition technology. By utilizing assistive technology, neurodiverse persons can access information and perform tasks more effectively, leading to improved job performance and satisfaction. One of my favorite tools to use is PDF readers that highlight text as it’s being read. These greatly help with my ADHD and Dyslexia.

One that can often be overlooked is the designated quiet spaces or sensory-friendly spaces can provide neurodiverse persons with a break from sensory overload, allowing them to recharge and refocus. These spaces can also provide a quiet place for neurodiverse persons to complete tasks that require intense focus and concentration. For example, a designated quiet room with low lighting and minimal distractions can provide an ideal environment for someone with autism who struggles with sensory overload (7).

Above all, support services are a critical component of neurodiverse environments, providing neurodiverse persons with the resources and assistance they need to succeed. This can include access to counseling services, job coaching, and support groups. Not only does this empower, but it also supports persons with growing through these challenges. I have a professor who checks in with me, not because they think I’m incapable, but because they know that I can sometimes get stuck on auto-pilot and they like to provide supportive feedback for my growth. This is especially beneficial when I feel like I’m having a significantly OCD-impacted week.

So, now we know the what and why, but how do we do it?

  • Assess

  • Train

  • Create

  • Repeat

Implementing Neurodiverse Environments

To create a truly neurodiverse environment, it is essential to assess the needs of neurodiverse persons. This can include gathering information on their specific needs and accommodations, as well as gathering feedback on the work environment and how it can be made more supportive and inclusive, which can help make sure that the right accommodations and support services are in place since needs will be unique to each individual.

There is also training. Training employees on neurodiversity can help create a culture of understanding and acceptance. This can include educating employees on the various types of neurodiverse challenges and lifestyles, as well as the strengths of neurodiverse persons. Training can also help employees understand the importance of inclusive and supportive environments, and how they can contribute to creating such an environment. In my office, we try to ensure that we are as accessible as possible. While we don’t yet have teammates with hearing challenges, we have invested in changing the language we use, company-wide, and have taken to learning ASL. Additionally, we practice active listening. As a leader, I am conscious of the potential challenges I or my team members may have, so when I set a deadline, I do so within a reasonable time.

It’s not just about saying “Hey, you are welcomed here.” Creating a culture of inclusion is essential for creating a truly neurodiverse environment. This can include promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace; encouraging open and respectful communication, and creating opportunities for neurodiverse persons to participate in workplace activities and events. On Fridays, we have our “5 pm dance party”. That means everyone stops what they are doing and dances for one full song. Work can boggle us down sometimes, so it’s important to “break loose” some of those thoughts. It also gives the team a moment to do something silly and fun together. Often someone will have a cultural dance they teach us during our dance party.

Creating a neurodiverse environment is an ongoing process that requires continual evaluation and adaptation. While I mention the fun stuff, it’s important to reiterate that everyone thinks in a different language, especially those that are living with neurodiversity. We have to be sure that while we are meeting deadlines and dancing away that we are still creating a sustainable ecos. This can include regularly gathering feedback from neurodiverse persons, assessing the effectiveness of accommodations and support services, and making changes as needed.

(12) Image Credit: Gerd Altmann

In conclusion, neurodiverse environments are essential for the success and well-being of neurodiverse persons in the workplace. By providing accommodations such as flexible work schedules, assistive technology, designated quiet spaces, sensory-friendly spaces, and support services, employers can create environments that are supportive and inclusive for neurodiverse employees.

As neurodiversity becomes more widely recognized and accepted, it is likely that the workplace, and hopefully educational environments, will continue to evolve and become increasingly supportive and inclusive for neurodiverse persons. This could include an increased focus on accommodations and support services, as well as a greater understanding of the strengths and challenges of neurodiverse persons.

In addition, the rise of neurodiversity in the workplace is likely to lead to new innovations and approaches to support neurodiverse persons. For example, advances in assistive technology and accessibility tools may allow neurodiverse persons to perform their work more effectively and efficiently (8).

However, it is important to note that the future implications of neurodiversity in the workplace will depend largely on the actions of employers, educators, and society as a whole. Only through continued efforts to create inclusive and supportive environments will the full potential of neurodiversity in the workplace be realized.

The recognition and acceptance of neurodiversity in the workplace is a critical step towards creating a more inclusive and supportive society for all persons. As such, it is important for employers and society as a whole to take action to create neurodiverse environments.

This could include:

  • Assessing the needs of neurodiverse persons and providing accommodations and support services to meet those needs.

  • Providing training on neurodiversity to employees, to promote understanding and acceptance.

  • Encouraging open and respectful communication, and promoting a culture of inclusion in the workplace.

  • Continuously evaluating and adapting neurodiverse environments to ensure they remain supportive and inclusive.

By taking these steps, employers and society can create inclusive and supportive environments for neurodiverse persons, allowing them to reach their full potential and contribute to a more diverse and vibrant workplace and society.


  1. What is neurodiversity? (2023, February 3). The Complete Guide to Autism | Beaming Health.

  2. Vasanth, T. (n.d.).

  3. Shields, & Beversdorf, D. (2021). A Dilemma For Neurodiversity. Neuroethics, 14(2), 125–141.

  4. Butterworth, Varma, S., & Laurillard, D. (2011). Dyscalculia: From Brain to Education. Science (American Association for the Advancement of Science), 332(6033), 1049–1053.

  5. Doyle N. Neurodiversity at work: a biopsychosocial model and the impact on working adults. Br Med Bull. 2020 Oct 14;135(1):108-125. doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldaa021. PMID: 32996572; PMCID: PMC7732033.

  6. Fawzy. (2015). Authentic inclusion or risk of discrimination: Organizational context and employees' attitudes towards colleagues with neurodivergence, developmental and/or mental health related disabilities. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

  7. Watson, K. (n.d.). Sensory overload: Symptoms, causes, related conditions, and more. Healthline.


  9. Eldevik, S., Hastings, R. P., & Hughes, C. (2009). A systematic review of environmental interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 30(4), 517-531.

  10. Dains, J. E., Baumann, L. C., & Scheibel, P. (2018). Advanced health assessment and clinical diagnosis in primary care (5th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.

  11. Lane, H. B., & Bailey, D. B. (2018). The world of work and its impact on the lives of people with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48(2), 480-493.

  12. Binary code privacy policy - free image on Pixabay (no date). Available at: (Accessed: February 9, 2023).



1. What is OCD, ASD,and ADHD?

OCD - Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic, and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts ("obsessions") and/or behaviors ("compulsions") that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.

ASD - Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. (,or%20repetitive%20behaviors%20or%20interests. )

ADHD- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.


2. How do you know if you are Neurodivergent?

The term “neurodivergent” describes people whose brain differences affect how their brain works. That means they have different strengths and challenges from people whose brains don't have those differences. Possible differences include medical disorders, learning disabilities and other conditions. It's best to seek professional advice. Only they can truly diagnose a person.

3. How do i get help with ADHD?

Adults who think they may have ADHD should talk to their health care provider. Primary care providers routinely diagnose and treat ADHD and may refer individuals to mental health professionals. Additionally, speak to your employer and school for necessary accommodations.

4. Is Adderall Bad?

There are those who feel like a "zombie" and there are others who feel more focused. People who feel the “zombie effect” might feel like there is a fog over their brains or that they can't think clearly. They might feel like they've been drugged or that their personality has changed. They may not be able to describe the feeling in words but have a sense that they're just not quite themselves. If you feel like ADHD medication is causing you to feel like a lifeless zombie, it could be a sign that something is wrong.

For example, your medication dosage may be too high, or it may not be the right medication for you. In other words, this is not a “normal” effect of ADHD medication. It's VERY important to speak to your Physician before you take or stop taking any medication.

Disclaimer: The information in this platform is not medical advice and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information in this platform as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information in this platform.


You May Be Interested In


About the Author:

Paradise Rodriguez-Bordeaux

🌎Global Business Strategist: Building Your Business To Sustainable Profits

🌟 Philanthropist | Empowerment Mentor

A Paradise Company / Paradise Rodriguez-Bordeaux Inc.

best-selling author, entrepreneur, and thought leader.

   Paradise Rodríguez-Bordeaux, the 2022 Human Rights Activist and the 2023 Innovative Leadership awards recipient, says,   

 "Sustainability is the bare minimum." 

    As an author, mentor, and mental health advocate, she is a passionate advocate for those who have faced adversity and discrimination in life. She has been a philanthropist for more than 15 years, giving back to her community by supporting organizations that provide solutions for poverty alleviation and social justice.  Her work as an innovator in business solutions led to the founding of...  Learn More

"We need to consistently produce effectively efficient solutions. 

This world, the communities, it's all of our responsibility. 

   Leaders HAVE to lead."


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page