#76: Navigating Neurodiversity for High-Performing Teams with Susan Fitzell
November 29, 2023 • 47 minutes
In this episode, Brian sits down with Susan Fitzell to unravel the realm of neurodiversity in the workplace. Join them as they explore the intricacies of accommodating neurodivergent individuals, discussing the challenges they face and the strategies to foster an inclusive environment for everyone on your team.
Today, join host Brian Milner in an insightful conversation with Susan Fitzell as they explore the intricate world of neurodiversity within Agile environments.
Listen in to gain valuable insights into the challenges neurodivergent individuals encounter and discover effective strategies, from reevaluating dress codes to adapting communication methods, to foster an inclusive workspace.
Susan provides practical tips that offer a fresh perspective on accommodating diverse work and communication styles, empowering teams to collaborate successfully.
Tune in to revolutionize your leadership approach by embracing the unique strengths neurodivergent team members bring, and create an environment where every individual can thrive.
Listen Now to Discover:
[00:00] - Brian introduces guest Susan Fitzell, a certified speaking professional, and author to discuss neurodiversity in the workplace.
[03:24] - Susan explains the evolving neurodiversity language, now encompassing diverse brain wiring, including conditions like ADHD and autism, and discusses terminology challenges.
[08:22] - Brian shares his own personal connection to ADHD and a story about his daughter’s autism and her triumphs.
[10:40] - The challenges of diagnosing autism in females and how the criteria are based on male presentations.
[15:16] - The importance of neurodiversity for Scrum Masters and leaders, and the challenges of recognizing neurodivergence, especially in females adept at masking.
[19:19] - The need for flexibility in understanding neurodivergent team members, the impact of past negative experiences, and the importance of soft skills for a collaborative Agile team.
[21:33] - Susan addresses the high unemployment rate (80%) among neurodivergent adults, especially autistic individuals, and highlights challenges in interviewing.
[24:22] -The importance of recognizing and leveraging the unique skills of neurodivergent individuals on Agile teams, and acknowledging their specialized contributions.
[25:41] - Brian shares a study that indicates young autistic individuals choose computer science degrees at three times the general public's rate, emphasizing the likelihood of having neurodivergent individuals on your teams.
[26:04] - The Agile Mentors Podcast is brought to you by Mountain Goat Software and their Certified Scrum Master Training Class. Despite the name, it's not just for Scrum Masters, it's designed for anyone who wants to understand Scrum and add value to any team. For more information click on the Mountain Goat Software Certified Scrum and Agile Training Schedule.
[27:41] - Susan addresses accommodations in the workplace for neurodivergent individuals.
[28:10] - Brian and Susan discuss specific aspects scrum masters should consider for accommodating neurodivergent individuals within team environments.
[31:30] - Susan shares insights on sensory sensitivities and the challenges of conforming to things like dress codes for neurodivergent individuals.
[34:16] - The significance of recognizing and accommodating sensory preferences for better productivity.
[35:27] - The positive impact of remote work on neurodivergent individuals, allowing them to create a comfortable work environment tailored to their needs.
[37:35] - Susan emphasizes the importance of understanding team members as individuals to recognize and embrace the diversity of strengths and challenges in their teams.
[40:19] - Supporting neurodivergent team members through workspace recommendations, emotional check-ins, and communication preferences.
[41:04] - Brian mentions Susan’s Neurodiversity in the Workplace and "The Autism at Work Playbook" as valuable resources.
[43:36] - Brian thanks Susan for her insights. You can connect with Susan and there are more resources at her website at https://susanfitzell.com/, or by sending her an email.
[44:19] - If this topic was impactful to you and you want to continue the discussion, join the Agile Mentors Community where we have a topic discussion for each podcast episode.
[45:18] - Please share this episode with others if you found it useful. Send feedback and suggestions for future episodes to email@example.com. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Agile Mentors Podcast on Apple Podcasts so you never miss an episode.
References and resources mentioned in the show:
Neurodiversity in the Workplace
"Autism at Work Playbook"
Autism in Heels
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This episode’s presenters are:
Brian Milner is SVP of coaching and training at Mountain Goat Software. He's passionate about making a difference in people's day-to-day work, influenced by his own experience of transitioning to Scrum and seeing improvements in work/life balance, honesty, respect, and the quality of work.
Susan Fitzell, M.Ed., CSP, is a renowned neurodiversity speaker, coach, and consultant with over 30 years of experience. Specializing in training neurodivergent thinkers, including those with dyslexia, autism, ADD, and ADHD, Susan is a trusted expert and author of 16 books. With a holistic approach and dedication to creating competitive learning cultures, she collaborates with organizations globally to maximize the potential of neurodivergent individuals.