Neurodiversity Awareness for Supervisors – New Miad Healthcare Course
Health Education England’s Guide to Practice-Based Learning for Neurodivergent Students explains how awareness of neurodiversity within practice learning enables students to flourish. However, we know many barriers prevent the successful application of support for neurodivergent trainees.
With that in mind, we’re pleased to announce that Miad Healthcare is launching a new Neurodiversity Awareness for Supervisors course. Before the launch, we spoke to course co-designer Daljeet Singh about neurodiversity and supervisors’ role in improving knowledge and understanding when managing their trainees.
Q. What are the benefits to supervisors of learning more about neurodiversity?
Daljeet: Firstly, a better understanding of whether traits are behavioural or as a result of neurodiversity. For example, distractibility and problems with time management could be put down to a trainee not caring or not taking the needs of others seriously, but they could also be a sign of neurodiversity.
This then opens the door to better understanding people and considering how we can accommodate their needs if it’s practical. Better knowledge on the supervisor’s part can also benefit the large number of people who are neurodivergent but who might not be aware of it. Many people are being diagnosed later in life, so if the supervisor can recognise the signs, this could in time, lead to a diagnosis and therefore better workplace adjustments.
Q. If supervisors hold higher confidence about the possibilities of neurodivergence, how will that benefit their trainees?
Daljeet: Certainly, they will feel more supported in getting into the right role. There are certain traits that can make someone incredibly effective in a role, so it’s about leveraging those strengths and guiding trainees to a place in their career where they can thrive.
With neurodiversity, hypersensitivity in one area may be at the cost of another area; by acknowledging this, the trainee and their supervisor will be able to chart the best way forward and make adjustments where possible. As a very simple example, someone might be incredibly talented at spotting patterns over time and their significance at the expense of recognising social cues. These two factors would need to be considered in order for the trainee to be successful.
Q. What could the consequences be if supervisors don’t know how to recognise the traits of neurodiversity?
Daljeet: In the workplace we all have expectations around performance. If a supervisor is unaware of the traits of neurodiversity, then there is a risk that they and a trainee may become stuck in a conflict loop around performance. For example, when a trainee doesn’t do something that’s asked of them, the supervisor may perceive they can’t see how important it is, but the root cause of the problem may lie elsewhere.
A trainee may also feel frustrated and held back from achieving their potential if there is no understanding of neurodivergence. For example, if someone has a diagnosis of a form of neurodiversity then they and their supervisor can put in place strategies to work through the challenges that arise. If a neurotypical supervisor doesn’t have this knowledge, then they can’t help.
Q. What are the key learnings that supervisors will take away from Miad’s neurodiversity awareness course?
Daljeet: This course will take supervisors from a position of little knowledge to a place where they can recognise, understand, and have a broader perspective about neurodiversity. It will invite them to consider possibilities and how they can help neurodiverse trainees play to their strengths.
It will provide a safe space to talk about communication and teaching issues and how to deal with a poorly performing trainee where neurodiversity is a factor. It will also cover what help can be given and the limitations of those adjustments.
Supervisors will be better equipped to recognise neurotypes such as autism spectrum disorders (such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dyspraxia); attention and executive function disorders (such as ADHD); and neurodevelopment, developmental, and cognitive disorders.
About the course
The Neurodiversity Awareness for Supervisors course is a full-day workshop that will cover:
- An overview of common manifestations of neurodiversity and their causes
- Understanding how neurodiversity may be an advantage in certain roles
- Strategies for supervisors when training and managing neurodiverse staff
- Adjustments in the workplace and their limitations
- Legal implications and considerations