October is ADHD awareness month. It’s also home to Halloween. One big tradition of Halloween is the costumes. On this day, we dress up and present ourselves as someone we are not. Some of us may even cover our faces with masks as part of this, this is known as masking.
Now imagine instead of covering yourself once a year, you do it every day, and instead of doing it for fun, you do it because you have to fit in socially. This is neuro-divergent masking, usually talked about in relation to ADHD or other neurodevelopmental disorders.
Unmasking as Liberation
ADHD masking includes a wide array of ways a person with ADHD covers up their symptoms in order to fit in. This runs against Construct the Present’s value of liberation. Our neuro-divergent colleagues should be allowed to be their authentic selves, which is why the rest of this newsletter offers techniques to accommodate your employees with ADHD to provide an equitable and safe working environment for everybody.
Ways to Liberate Your Neuro-divergent Employees: Masking
- Ask people what they need to be successful and believe that they know what is best for them.
- Be flexible. Can the work get done in a way that is different from what you think is the traditional way? Create novelty.
- Allow for people to work in a way that makes them focused. (ex: headphones, work from home, etc)
- Recognize that mistakes do not make a person inherently bad. Is there a way to come to a conclusion that is a win-win?
- Avoid joking about someone’s differences and interrupt when others do so.
- Be direct and make expectations clear. Neuro-diverse people can miss cues that neuro-typical people might pick up on. Provide as much clarity as possible.