The Challenge

Humans exhibit neurodiversity as a species, meaning that we all have different cognition and brain functioning. As a result, we think, speak, feel, act and experience life in different ways. Around 15% of people living in the UK are neurodivergent, meaning they have been diagnosed with one or more the developmental conditions currently recognised as such, including autism, attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, and Tourette’s syndrome. It is likely that the true number of people who have a neurodivergent condition is much higher in reality, as an unknown number of people currently remain undiagnosed. Indeed, while it was once the case that people with a neurodivergent condition tended to be diagnosed in their childhood years, many are now being diagnosed later in life.

Neurodiversity is seen as a social justice and civil rights issue because neurodivergent people are frequently marginalised by society. The world tends to have been designed by neurotypical people (those who do not have a neurodivergent condition), for neurotypical people.

This is especially true in the world of work, where neurodivergent individuals routinely face significant barriers to them fulfilling their personal potential and playing a full role in society. Most neurodivergent people encounter such barriers in their daily lives and must endeavour to overcome them. This can have serious negative impacts on their wellbeing and quality of life.

The Method

A team of researchers from Swansea University and Liverpool John Moores University has been conducting studies with neurodivergent students, university wellbeing and disability support professionals, university careers professionals and employers to gain a better understanding of the challenges neurodivergent graduates in particular experience when looking for work, finding work, being in work and staying in work. We have been supported with grants from the Swansea Employability Academy and Swansea University Greatest Needs Fund

The Impact

We have been particularly interested to help bridge the gap that neurodivergent students say they experience when in comes to planning their careers, applying for jobs and securing gainful employment that uses their degree and fully harnesses their potential. Based on this research, we have produced the following Neurodiversity - A Guide and Resource Directory for University Careers Advisers and Resource Director for Careers Professionals. Based on the popular neurodiversity slogan “nothing about us without us”, we have based this guide directly on the experiences and opinions of university students with neurodiverse conditions.

Neurodiversity - A Guide and Resource Directory for University Careers Advisers

You are welcome to download this guidebook for free. It is intended primarily for careers professionals in higher education, but will also be useful to lecturers, personal tutors and professional services staff. People working with neurodivergent students in Further Education will also find it of interest.

The guidebook contains information on neurodiversity and neurodivergent conditions, particularly as they relate to graduate students accessing the world of work. There are also tools to help careers professionals work more productively with their neurodivergent student clients. At the end there are links to a range of further resources that readers will find helpful.

The Research Partner

Liverpool John Moores University

Liverpool John Moores University logo