#WeAHPs - Thursday 27th January 2022 8pm (GMT Standard Time) Experiences and support for neurodivergent students and AHPs

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It is estimated that one in seven of the population is neurodivergent (Bupa, 2021). The neurodiversity paradigm is in a stage of emergence and thus the definitions are indistinct, however, dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are most commonly referred to under the label (Doyle, 2020).

Being neurodivergent can have many advantages - such as above-average creativity, visual reasoning, visual-spatial skills, verbal comprehension, hyper-focus and innovative thinking (Doyle, 2020). However, the potential differences in emotional control, memory, processing, concentration, communication and coordination can be disabling in a neurotypical world (British Psychological Society, 2017). If these are not addressed in education or the workplace, and the needed adjustments are not made, there is potential for serious significant impact on an individual’s experience of work and/or education (British PsychologicalSociety, 2017; Doyle, 2020; Griffin and Pollak, 2009; Jones et al, 2014; Young et al, 2021).

However, within the research, there is a lack of work investigating the experiences of neurodivergent healthcare students and professionals. Due to this, we do not know the unique barriers or opportunities they face, how well they are being addressed and what needs to be improved. For example, in radiography, there is no research at all exploring experiences of autistic or dyspraxic students and professionals or those with ADHD. Adjusting academic elements of university studies is thoroughly practised but is this carried over to clinical placement and does it continue after registration? To put any sort of support in place, there needs to be disclosure. Do students and professionals feel able to disclose? Do they face stigma? If they do disclose, what adjustments can be made and how effective are they? Are there special coping strategies employed? What could improve experiences?

Everyone, regardless of neurotype, is encouraged to participate in this Tweet Chat. The questions are written in a way that whether you’re a neurodivergent student, a neurotypical educator, a neurotypical practitioner or a neurodivergent manager, everyone can share their experiences, views and ideas on the topic.


Recommended Reading:

  • A Beginner's Guide to Neurodiversity

https://www.learningdisabilitytoday.co.uk/a-beginners-guide-to-neurodiversity

  • A review and discussion of the evolving neurodiversity paradigm within different models

https://doi.org/10.1093/bmb/ldaa021

  • A 2021British Medical Association report on doctors and medical students with disabilities and long-term health conditions

https://www.bma.org.uk/advice-and-support/nhs-delivery-and-workforce/workforce/disability-in-the-medical-profession


References

Bupa (2021) Supporting neurodiversity in the workplace: a manager’s guide.Available at: https://www.bupa.co.uk/business/workplace-wellbeing-hub/~/media/files/mms/bins-05299.pdf [Accessed 24th November 2021].

BritishPsychology Society. (2017) Psychology at Work. Available at: https://www.bps.org.uk/sites/www.bps.org.uk/files/Policy/Policy%20-%20Files/Psychology%20at%20work%20-%20improving%20wellbeing%20and%20productivity%20in%20the%20workplace.pdf [Accessed 11th December 2021].

Doyle, N. (2020) Neurodiversity at work: a biopsychosocial model and the impact on working adults. British Medical Bulletin, 135(1). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/bmb/ldaa021

Griffin,E. and Pollak, D. (2009) Student experiences of neurodiversity in higher education:insights from the BRAINHE project. Dyslexia, 15(1). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/dys.383

Jones,L., Goddard, L., Hill, E, L., Henry, L, A. and Crane, L. (2014) Experiences ofReceiving a Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Survey of Adults in theUnited Kingdom. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44(12):3033–3044. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2161-3

Young,S., Asherson, P., Lloyd, T., Absoud, M., Arif, M., Colley, W., et al. (2021) Failure of Healthcare Provision for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in theUnited Kingdom: A Consensus Statement. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12: 324.Available at: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.649399


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