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Abstract/Statement

Neurodivergent individuals face many challenges in the workplace, job application process, recruitment process and in the work environment. This qualitative study aimed to gain insight into the experiences of neurodivergent individuals and some of the barriers faced in these domains at work. Twenty-one neurodivergent individuals took part in semi-structured interviews. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to give voice to interviewees first-person lived experience. Six superordinate themes were highlighted in this study: ‘External Perceptions of Neurodiversity’, ‘Identity Degradation”, ‘Self-Identity’, ‘Organisational Obstacles’, ‘Neurodiversity Empowerment’, and ‘Language Regarding Neurodiversity’. This study found that neurodivergent individuals are impacted by the inaccurate stereotypes and assumptions from others at work, leading to a wide spectrum of issues such as the fear of disclosure, lack of career progression and negative emotions which can contribute towards poor mental health. Both, neurodivergent individuals and their organisations, need education to facilitate conversations, workplace accommodations and improve employees' experiences at work. Additionally, there is a need for more flexibility in the workplace and less standardisation in the work environment to facilitate productivity and satisfaction. These findings can be used to facilitate greater understanding of Neurodiversity at work and build on foundational literature regarding the best workplace practices to empower neurodiverse talent. This research may be used as a starting point for the development of evidence-based organisational wide interventions which can seek to mitigate some of these perceived barriers and make the workplace more accessible to neurodivergent individuals. We sing with neurodiverse talent: let us teach employers to sing with us.

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