WBG was joined this week by Heather Worrall, a SENCo at a boys grammar school, who delved into the subject of Autism, and its particular impact in workplaces. Whilst working with autistic boys in her professional life is an everyday thing, Heather is also mum to an autistic son, which led her into her current role following his diagnosis and a realisation that many parents struggle to adapt.
Exploring autism’s place in the neurodivergent spectrum, Heather explained how it is a condition (not a disorder) that results in a different means of interacting with the world to the neurotypical norm. Although given the widespread preponderance of autistic traits in the general population, the existence of a “neurotypical norm” is questionable.
A fun exercise revealed that all the meeting’s attendees display some autistic traits, whether they be an aversion to change, being oppositional to direct demands, or one of 8 or so other characteristics. Heather then explored ways in which her school adapt their teaching styles to cater for autistic students. Changes that results in teaching methods (chunking, use of different media, etc) that work very well for all students. This applies equally in the work environment, where clarity and consideration can go a long way to making life easier for all.