Benefits of Aspergers, Autism, ADHD, and other neurodiversity traits in the field of Technology
- Introduction to Neurodiversity
- Benefits of Neurodiversity
- Autism General Information
- ADHD General Information
- Autism and Aspergers Syndrome in Technology
- ADHD in Technology
- Neurodiversity TED Talks
- Diversity Podcasts
- Online courses
Introduction to Neurodiversity
Neurodiversity is increasingly being recognised as a competitive advantage in Technology.
There are many economic benefits to employing a diverse range of people with various psychological profiles, such as Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome (which is a form of Autism), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyslexia. Some careers where these kinds of minds are valued include Software Engineer, Web Developer, Quality Assurance Tester, and DevOps.
While there may not be just one cause for neurodiversity, there is research indicating that there are strong genetic reasons for this. Is is common that more than one condition occurs together, so a person with Asperger’s Syndrome may also have another diagnosis, such as ADHD.
Benefits of Neurodiversity
Some of the beneficial traits that people with non-neurotypical profiles can bring include:
- focus on task, also called hyperfocus
- attention to detail
- systematic thinking
- highly precise
- excellent memory for facts and structures
- non-linear thinking, also referred to as lateral thinking, non-conformist behaviour
- excellent problem solving ability
- good at generating new ideas and alternative points of view
Auticon, a multi-national company that hires neurodiverse IT consultants, gives an excellent overview of the autistic spectrum, its strengths, and the benefits these profiles can add to employers.
Further links on this page provide more context and evidence to demonstrate this.
Autism General Information
ADHD General Information
Autism and Aspergers Syndrome in Technology
ADHD in Technology
I haven’t found that many articles on ADHD specifically related to the Technology industry, but intend to update this as I find more. Here are a few related to work that I feel help present some of the benefits ADHD could bring to a Technology career.
Warning! Contains strong opinions –> How I Turn My ADHD Into a Super Power - Simple Programmer
Neurodiversity TED Talks
There are loads of books available on neurodiversity topics, including Autism, Aspergers, ADHD, Dyslexia, and associated cognitive and emotional processes. Here are a few suggestions that I personally feel show a good level of understanding, while presenting challenges alongside the strengths of people from neurodiverse backgrounds.
The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across The Spectrum by Richard Panek and Temple Grandin
Autism and Asperger Syndrome in Adults by Luke Beardon
ADHD What Everyone Needs to Know by Stephen Hinshaw and Katherine Ellison
These are books I am currently still reading that may not have such specialised and detailed content, but cover associated areas.
Autism and Everyday Executive Function: A Strengths-Based Approach for Improving Attention, Memory, Organization and Flexibility by Paula Moraine
NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman
Here are a few ideas for online courses provided by FutureLearn, an online education provider owned by The Open University, in partnership with Universities that do research in these fields.