Andrew Zammit Manduca, misco Neurodiversity Consultant and Inclusion Specialist, has said that in order to tackle neurodivergence at the workplace, business leaders must first understand what neurodiversity truly means.

He was speaking ahead of Neurodiversity Week 2024, an initiative that misco is launching in collaboration with a number of mental health NGOs, mainly ADHD Malta and Prisms Malta, to curate a series of events for the week.

90 per cent of employees who are neurodivergent will never disclose the fact that they are neurodivergent for fear of stigma, abusive bullying, past experiences, or threats of career damage. In Malta, lack of support towards neurodivergent employees has led to an annual absenteeism cost to Maltese businesses of between €19 million to €24 million.

Themed “The Lived Experiences,” misco’s initiative aims to provide a platform for neurodivergent voices, fostering understanding, inclusion, and diversity in the workplace.

“The Neurodiversity Week initiative marks a significant step towards a more inclusive professional world for neurodivergent persons,” Mr Zammit Manduca, who is organising the event, explained.

“But the first important step in tackling neurodivergence is to understand what the term means,” he added.

Neurodivergence, albeit not falling under the medical umbrella, encompasses individuals with variations in their mental functions and includes conditions like autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other neurological or developmental conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

“The aim of Neurodiversity Week 2024 is to acknowledge and value the unique contributions and possibilities that neurodivergent individuals can bring to the table and it is an invitation to listen to the voices of those whose personal and professional journeys illuminate the path of neurodiversity in the workplace,” Mr Zammit Manduca continued.

“Neurodiversity Week 2024 – The Lived Experiences” will be held between 18th and 22nd March 2024. The programme, compiled in consultation with various mental health NGOs, will feature a series of webinars, seminars, workshops, and training sessions designed around the actual needs and experiences of neurodivergent individuals.

The event has a strong lineup of neurodivergent speakers and allies from diverse sectors who will also share their personal stories and insights.

The week’s agenda of events will include a webinar and panel discussion to explore neurodiversity’s value in the workplace, a seminar through which mental health professionals will gain insights on support neurodivergent clients, training sessions led by a neurodivergent professional on strategies to enhance the executive function of neurodivergent employees, and a workshop for human resources (HR) managers on how to implement neuroinclusive policies to foster a more inclusive work environment.

For more information about “Neurodiversity Week 2024 – The Lived Experiences” and registration, click here.


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