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Why professional qualifications need to be neuro inclusive

22 April 2024
Graphic of paper heads, going from grey to multi-colours


It’s no secret that neurodivergent professionals face numerous challenges throughout their careers.

Diversity and equality inclusion have increasingly been under the limelight over the past few years. And rightly so.

It is now law for all businesses to provide fair and equal opportunities to all - including neurodivergent talent.

But, realistically, how neuro inclusive are workplaces? And what can we do to change this to ensure inclusivity across every facet of working?

To ensure every member of your workforce has access to the same opportunities, Kaplan Assessments is now part of the Cognassist Neurodiversity Charter to ensure candidates get reasonable adjustments to assessments.

This allows us to design, develop, and deliver professional qualifications that are inclusive of neurodivergent talent so every employee has the best chance to succeed.

Get in touch with our team today to discover how we can transform your organisation.

We are now part of the Cognassist Neurodiversity Charter!

Kaplan Assessments values inclusivity in assessments and our addition to the Cognassist Neuro-inclusion Charter means we can enhance our tailored assessments.

We have always aimed to design, develop, and deliver qualifications that inclusively assess candidates, and our partnership with Cognassist allows us to include specific considerations relating to neurodiversity.

Cognassist assessments are adapted from a clinical medical perspective. By doing this, it ensures these adjustments can be repeated and meet all requirements to ensure the qualification is still valid.

Being part of the Cognassist neurodiversity charter enhances our ability to provide candidates with the best chances to achieve their full potential. In turn, this complete professional competency can maximise overall business success.

Our Qualification Manager, Alannah Henry-Young, took part in the Cognassist Charter Training and says:

“Completing the 'Inclusive Awarding Organisation' course was not just an eye-opener, but a door-opener to a world of breaking down barriers for diverse minds.

“It equipped me with the tools to not only understand the multifaceted impact on our candidates but also to implement practical support drawn from scientific insights that accompany them on their entire assessment journey, from booking to receiving their results.

“Implementing the learning from the training will absolutely have a positive impact for all our candidates."

If you want to better your inclusivity by offering opportunities for your neurodivergent talent, reach out today to discover how Kaplan Assessments can help.

What do we mean by neuro inclusive?

To be neuro inclusive means making adaptations for people who identify as neurodivergent or are seeking a diagnosis.

So, what has caused the increased demand for neuro inclusive workplaces?

As society has started to become more aware of equality issues, such as gender and race, neuro inclusivity has also become an area that companies are seeking to improve on.

Why is progress needed in neuro inclusion?

Well, there only 22% of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time employment - despite 1 in 7 people being neurodivergent…

The government’s Equalities Act of 2010 now means discrimination in the workplace is a legislative offence.

Though this may be true, the facts show that perhaps the inclusion of neurodivergent talent has not been as successful as originally hoped with the introduction of the legislation.

At Kaplan Assessments, we have long been advocating for inclusivity within professional credentials as we believe every member of a workforce deserves equal opportunity to improve their competency.

Continual professional development guarantees your employees have the skills required for the latest technologies and processes - ensuring you stand out from your competitors.

Struggles neurodivergent professionals face when gaining qualifications

No two brains work in the same way, and this is especially true of neurodivergent talent.

For example, those with a neurodivergence may have trouble with typical ways of working, such as:

  • Overstimulation in office environments
  • Poor organisational skills
  • Struggles with time management

Due to this, some neurodivergent professionals could be given a lack of opportunities to grow or move into new roles because of the impacts of their neurodivergence.

If they are given professional growth opportunities - potentially through gaining qualifications - how likely are they to succeed in obtaining the credential if the assessments aren’t tailored to their requirements?

Many neurodivergent individuals mask - suppressing neurodivergent traits - as they feel pressure to be like everyone else. This can impact their ability to gain full competency as by trying to be like the rest of the world, they are putting themselves in a disadvantaged position.

But knowledge is power.

So, once neurodivergence is identified by the individual and the employer, they can enable suitable adjustments to ensure they have the best chance of succeeding.

Not only will this lead to more opportunities for the neurodivergent professional, but also continued growth for the company.

Ensuring full inclusivity in professional assessments

A research survey by Neurodiversity in Business and Birkbeck, University of London, found that of 990 neurodivergent people:

  • 76.5% struggle with concentration
  • 69.5% won’t ask for help when they need it
  • 64.8% struggle with working memory
  • 24.1% struggle with numeracy
  • 22.4% struggle with reading, writing, and spelling

When asked if they had access to adjustments, only 29.9% revealed that they had formal adjustments in place…

With this in mind, it’s important to understand and empathise with these struggles to adjust professional credentials towards qualifications accordingly.

There are several ways assessments can be tailored to be more neuro inclusive:

  • Additional time - most likely for reading
  • Scribes
  • Readers - whether assistive technology or a person
  • Personal support worker in the room during the examination
  • Different coloured papers
  • Enlarged text
  • Timed breaks - whether for the bathroom or just in general

65% of employers stated they don’t know enough to make adjustments for neurodivergent professionals. Therefore, a company must have a thorough understanding of how to provide the correct support to neurodivergent talent.

Organisations can do this by educating themselves through resources, simply talking to the employee to learn their specific needs, or reaching out to companies, like Kaplan Assessments, who can ensure neuro inclusion.

Kaplan Assessments provides professionals with tailored qualifications and assessments

We understand that each individual has struggles when it comes to professional development, but we can help ensure equal opportunities for every member of your workforce.

As part of the Cognassist Neuro-inclusion Charter, Kaplan Assessments can offer tailored assessments that allow all professionals to continue their career development in a way that works for them.

We work with a range of companies to design, develop, and deliver professional assessments and qualifications that are not only relevant to each industry but to each individual.

By improving the competency of your entire workforce, you’re setting yourself apart from competitors - allowing you to improve overall business development by reaching your business goals sooner rather than later.

Contact the Kaplan Assessments team to ensure neuro inclusivity and give all your professionals the best chance to succeed.

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