Society becomes more open to neurodiversity – except for UHR

If you slim down and streamline a business, it can appear to run smoothly. You recruit the “right” kind of people, and it works well, at least for a while. But today, more and more businesses have realized that this might be a path to stagnation.

Some of those who work with development, research and business innovation has opened their eyes to neurological diversity. Innovation-dependent companies are leading the way because they have realized that innovation is primarily created by characteristics we do not all have in common.

The concept of neurodiversity means that neurological differences, such as autism, ADHD and dyslexia, are increasingly seen as normal variations in the human genome. Those who understand what the concept of neurodiversity means also realize that people with neurological differences such as dyslexia, ADHD or Aspberger’s should not be “cured” but that they may need tools and support. Then they can also gain access to their unique talents, which can, for example, be about well-developed logic, memory, music or mathematical skill.

Large international companies, often in the IT and logistics industries, have discovered that they need these variations in their business development. They are looking for methods to recruit more broadly and less stereotypically. It is not an easy task because many people do not even know why they are different; they are unsure of themselves and do not apply for jobs at their actual level. The Danish company Specialisterna has noted this and developed recruitment tools that show the strengths and unique skills of people who otherwise are quickly sorted out in a standardized application process. On their website, there is an image that captures the idea: a needle in a haystack and the question, “Are you looking for someone who can find the needle?”

Companies such as Microsoft and Hewlett and Packard are collaborating with universities and colleges to create courses where people with neurological variations can come into their own in tasks such as robot programming and video games.

But, there is one big but. These focused efforts require that you have entered a university or college. In Sweden, there is a significant challenge in this area. If you have dyslexia, you get access to various tools during your schooling. You can also access audiobooks or text-to-speech programs at universities and colleges. But you may not use text-to-speech to take the university entrance exam. There it stops. This bottleneck probably means we miss out on many unique talents in higher education, research and business.

Soon it is time for the university entrance exam again.