October 6, 2014
The National Business & Disability Council (NBDC) at The Viscardi Center hosted an online workshop on neurodiversity. The workshop, The Benefits of Understanding Neurodiversity in the Workforce: Helping Employees Thrive and Businesses Prosper, was facilitated by Madelaine Sayko, president and co-founder of Cognitive Compass, on September 30, 2014.
Sayko was quoted in a recent article published by Forbes, Using Technology To Mitigate Cognitive Disabilities, which looked into estimates that 25% of the workforce may be experiencing some type of cognitive issue at any given time. For a Fortune 500 company, data suggests there may be as many as 2000 employees who are dealing with some kind of cognitive disability.
According to Sayko, a strong disability supportive culture, that recognizes the value of neurodiversity, in the single most important action companies can take to improve disclosure and workplace success for employees with cognitive disabilities.
“Inclusion for people who are neuro-divergent, or have cognitive disabilities, includes management approaches that address human interaction, technology, culture, and environment,” she said. “It is not about fixing anyone, its a way of doing business, of empowering the person and the business organization to be successful.”
Neurodiversity is the full range of neurologically based variations in behavior, cognition, learning, communication, and socialization that occurs among people, reflecting the whole range of human function. It includes both those neurological traits which are more common, or neurotypical and those that occur with less frequency such that they would be considered neuro-divergent.
Sayko further stated, “Cognitive disabilities are already in the workforce and may already be negatively impacting performance and turnover at a cost of millions of dollars — for a company of 50,000 employees this cost could total 39M annually. Successful employment outcomes for people with cognitive disabilities is a process not a one size fits all solution, however these same management skills and technologies can often be leveraged for the benefit of all employees.”
The workshop was offered to NBDC for free as part of their corporate partnership.