DC Reinventing Hub

Reinventing support in the workplace: Cognitive differences and neurodiversity

Delta Capita want to do everything we can to sustain employee success. This includes welcoming and supporting colleagues with neurodiverse conditions, including learning disabilities such as dysl


Delta Capita want to do everything we can to sustain employee success. This includes welcoming and supporting colleagues with neurodiverse conditions, including learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, and ADHD. Learning Disability Week is the perfect time to reflect on this.

People with neurological differences can bring many vital talents, skills and viewpoints to the workplace, and we believe these are essential to building effective teams and solving complex challenges. We also encourage our employees to learn more about neurodiversity and support colleagues with such conditions.

What is a learning disability?

A learning disability is a neurological condition that affects the brain's ability to send, receive, and process information. Someone with a learning disability may have difficulty writing, reading, speaking, listening, or understanding mathematical concepts.

A learning disability occurs when the brain is still developing - before, during or soon after birth, with several potential causes.

Learning disabilities can be mild, moderate, severe or profound. In all cases, a learning disability is lifelong.

Some of the most common disabilities are:

  • dyslexia, which impedes ability to read and comprehend text
  • attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), making it difficult for people to pay attention and stay on task
  • dyscalculia, which affects maths capabilities
  • dysgraphia, relating to people with writing disabilities.

While autism is not a learning disability, 40% to 50% of people with autism do have learning disabilities.

What is neurodiversity?

The term ‘neurodiverse’ refers to natural variations in learning, sociability, attention, and other neurological functions. The term includes autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and ADHD.

The neurodiversity movement argues that societal barriers disable people with these conditions — not the conditions themselves. Some also believe ‘neurodiversity’ should refer to cognitive differences within the entire human race – and regard each as normal and valuable - rather than be an umbrella term for these conditions.

US journalist Steve Silberman contributed to awareness of neurodiversity when he noticed how many successful professionals in Silicon Valley were autistic and wrote the book NeuroTribes about it in 2015.

Silberman believes there is a range of valid human cognitive styles, rather than just one type of ‘normal, superior’ brain. Autism, dyslexia, and ADHD are just names for brain types that work differently but can complement neurotypical or ‘normal’ brains, and one another. Just as biodiversity helps a rainforest deal with changing conditions, neurodiversity can help a company deal with different situations.

Understanding cognitive differences

Modern businesses have complex needs. We need different thinkers in our teams to tackle these problems and innovate. We need people who see problems from different angles - as autistic people, for example, often do. They also often have great long-term memory, pattern-spotting, and systematic thinking.

Many people with other neurodivergent conditions also have important strengths. For example, studies show that dyslexia and ADHD are over-represented among entrepreneurs. Also, some people with ADHD can think creatively and conceptualise solutions differently.

While we avoid generalising and stereotyping – we believe understanding cognitive differences is critical to the way we design more effective teams. That’s why we view neurodiversity as a competitive advantage and welcome and support people with cognitive differences.

Support from Delta Capita

Delta Capita also want all our employees to feel included, regardless of cognitive differences, background, beliefs, or identity.

Employees who feel supported in this way generally feel happier, and have more sense of belonging and engagement at work.

Are you looking for a new workplace that values diversity and employee wellbeing? Check out our latest vacancies. Also find out how Delta Capita are reinventing the workplace through employee-centric projects at our Reinventing Hub.