Maximising Neurodiverse Talents with Professor Amanda Kirby
Do-IT Solutions is a ‘tech for good’ company providing online and face- to face training and web-based tools to support neurodiverse people to optimise skills and to ultimately gain and sustain employment. We work in a number of sectors including education, employment and the justice sector nationally and internationally. The team has the expertise, knowledge and experience not only to deliver the processes and training but also the IT expertise to build accessible tools.
We help employers attract, retain and harness neurodiverse talent and help those in education and the justice sector to seek out their strengths and minimise the challenges in their day to day lives. Do-IT takes a person-centered approach, supporting each individual in the context of their lives.
I am Amanda Kirby, a medical doctor, CEO of Do-IT, and Professor in Developmental Disorders. I have more than 25 years’ experience, working clinically, in research and practically e in relation to neurodiversity. I have trained more than 100,000 people, written 8 books and published more than 100 research papers. I am also a parent and grandparent of a very neurodiverse family with amazing musicians, scientists, mathematicians and doctors alongside other wonderful people in our family with learning disabilities and smiles to make the world light up!
Our team has internationally recognised experience of developing robust tools and training, including the co-founder Dr Ian Smythe as an internationally recognised dyslexia expert. He has been working in the field of accessibility also for more than 20 years.
What is your D&I mission for 2020 and beyond?
Do-IT is passionate about championing the talents of people who are neurodivergent and believe in sharing information about neurodiversity to others in order to influence and encourage positive change.
Our mission for 2020 and beyond is to ensure that education and employment places are neuro-inclusive so that talents can be harnessed and maintained. We recognise a complementary neurodiverse world offers new solutions when we work together.
In addition, we want to help to provide the means of raising awareness of specific challenges sometimes relating to neurodiversity and provide practical tools and training so that we help reduce social inequity and provide everyone an equal opportunity to showcase their talents. Ensuring systems are accessible is essential to allow the doors to be open equally for all.
Can you share some D&I best practice examples?
We are passionate about inclusion and were the first Disability Confident Leader in Wales.
We also led on the content for the www.neurodiversityemployment.org.uk website and used Recite Me to ensure that it was accessible for all, as we do for all our sites.
We have recently launched an e-learning course for HR, Diversity and Inclusion leaders that is accessible and easy to use with bite-size videos that can be watched at home or on the move. It provides step by step guidance to ensure best practice at all stages from recruitment to retaining talent.
We are launching an ‘Embracing Neurodiversity kitemark’ in collaboration with the ADHD Foundation that will allow organisations to show others they are inclusive and have undertaken awareness training.
During this terrible time with COVID-19 we have been delivering free webinars to more than 2500 people in the UK including a series for DWP and the Ability Network.
What are you doing across your digital landscape to be inclusive?
Our e-learning materials are accessible in design and delivery. We are busy training others on how to deliver accessible content including considering readability of information, the design and the manner in which it is delivered. We have launched our accessible e-learning modules which include practical guidance on being a neuro-inclusive employer.
Our Neurodiversity Workplace Profiler is as web- based profiling tool which is BDA Assured and captures relevant background information regarding an individual’sjob, provides an understanding of what intervention has worked successfully, and what further support the person may require. It contains an initial Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD,ASD screeners relating to Neurodiversity strengths and challenges, wellbeing tools and resources and assistive technology guidance
We offer the Neurodiversity Aware® Award which is a training and accreditation programme leading to an Open College Network (OCN) Level 4 qualification for those who want to gain a greater understanding of neurodiverse related conditions and want to have confidence supporting people in their workplaces.
Can you share an example of D&I success at your organisation?
We are leading the way in establishing an accessible means of raising awareness, by providing innovative tools and training to reach employers of all sizes and their staff. We constantly review and consider how we can be more inclusive in all that we do, including communication mapping with our team to ensure we understand the different ways we best communicate.
Concluding company message
Do-IT Solutions is a tech- for- good company that values collaboration and shared working and is passionate about making a difference and helping others to be the best they can. We see maximising neurodiverse talents is essential for the survival of humanity.
We like to develop lasting relationships that allow for sustainable change. This results in inclusion never being a ‘tick box’ exercise but business as usual so that we all benefit.