Neurodiversity Profiling in Employment

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland invited us to present at a Livestream event for their Mental Health Week 2022 Campaign, to shine a light on the important, complex and long neglected issue of neurodiversity and how it impacts the health and safety of workers.

If you missed it, download it from our website here.

Here is some of the feedback we’ve received so far:

“Absolutely amazing”

“A great success”

“Nailed it!”  

“Best session of the week”

“Really enjoying the session”

“Catherine…what a wonderful answer!”

“Such a powerful session. Thank you, Catherine.”

“Thank you so much! This was amazing!”

“Great explanation of Autistic Meltdown! It’s not a temper tantrum at all!”

“Such a great session. I learned a lot and certainly have a new perspective”

“Love how this has been linked to practical solutions at work”

“I appreciate how neuro-affirming this session was”

“What a great topic. Definitely encourages HR and OHS to work together”.


There were some great questions asked by an engaged and interactive audience of nearly 700 people and we invited them to “watch this space” for more information. One of these was in relation to neurodiversity screening and whether there is a role for neurodiversity screening processes in employment?



  1. There will always be a need for workers who perform safety critical roles, such as those in the transportation, mining, oil and gas, construction industries to be screened for various conditions at pre-employment and periodically during the term of employment.

The purpose of this pre-employment or fitness for duty assessments, which are usually undertaken by Occupational Physicians, is to ensure the prospective worker is able to perform the essential requirements of the role safely.

There is nothing unusual or unlawful about this form of discrimination providing the employer can demonstrate the link between the essential requirements of the role and the worker’s ability to perform those requirements safely, given their disclosed medical condition(s). It is not a process that is unique to or discriminatory of neurodivergent workers.

2. But if an employer intends to screen neurodivergent workers out at pre-employment for reasons other than their ability to perform the essential requirements of the role safely, then the answer is no. This is not an appropriate use of screening and may put the employer in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (the DDA).

The employer would also be missing out on all the incredible talents and abilities that neurodivergent workers bring to the workplace. Neuroinclusive employers consistently report improvements in innovative capabilities, reputational enhancement and greater worker, client and customer engagement.

It is estimated that if 15 – 20% of the population has one or more form of neurodivergence (Doyle, 2020) and 65% of these are of working age, that’s one in eight people. So it’s highly likely that the employer already has a neurodiverse workforce.

It is also more common than not for a person to have more than one form of neurodivergence in their profile. So a person may have Autism, ADHD and Dyslexia in their profile or ADHD and Dyscalculia, or any other combination of overlapping neurodivergent traits.

The DDA requires employers make reasonable adjustments for workers with disabilities, but this assumes that:

  1. the worker considers their neurodivergence to be a disability – and they may not.
  2. the worker knows that they are neurodivergent – and they may not; and
  3. the worker has disclosed their neurodivergence to their employer – and they usually don’t.

At the current time, an adult in Australia who suspects they have one or more type of neurodivergence, will have difficulty even getting an appointment to be assessed and diagnosis can take many months or years. The process can be costly and inaccessible to many.

But without a formal diagnosis, adults with ADHD cannot access the treatment that is effective in improving functioning and quality of life in about 80% of those that can tolerate it and neurodivergent people generally will not be able to secure the reasonable adjustments they need at work, under the DDA.

If the worker does not see any evidence that their employer has an open and inclusive culture for neurodivergent workers, they usually do not disclose because they fear discrimination and judgement. But if they do not disclose, then their employer cannot identify, assess and control the occupational health and safety risks that may impact them differently. It is the worker that must carry all the risk, one way or the other.

But it is the employer that owns the Primary Duty of Care to ensure so far as reasonably practicable the health and safety of workers. How can the employer do this, if they do not understand the unique ways that workers think, communicate, learn, regulate attention and emotion, perceive and respond to risk and experience the physical environment?

The Neurodiverse Safe Work Solution

  • The Neurodiverse Safe Work Initiative is proud to announce the introduction of a service that is unique in Australia. Neurodiversity Workplace Coaching Plus offers Professional Coaching to workers who identify as neurodivergent, regardless of whether they have been diagnosed. Using a Neurodiversity Workplace Profiler to map out the worker’s own unique profile, we provide a personalized Coaching Program that helps the worker understand why they think and function the way they do, capitalize on their strengths and identify the supports they need to manage the areas where they may struggle. The Neurodiversity Workplace Profiler:
    1. Is an established web-based modular screening and assessment system
    2. Is used widely in education, health, social, employment, and justice settings
    3. Is evidence-informed and developed by specialists with extensive experience working in neurodevelopmental services and research over more than 10 years
    4. Takes a person-centered approach to gathering information
    5. Delivers instant functional guidance
    6. Reduces the administration burden of entering information, collating and scoring it
    7. Is accessible using spoken, coloured overlays and can be translated into multiple languages
    8. Is adaptable and can provide localized information and personalized support
    9. Generates an instant report highlighting strengths and challenges with practical guidance
    10. Secure on Microsoft Azure.

    Whilst the Profiler does not provide a diagnosis and cannot be used for the purpose of prescribing medication, it provides evidence that the worker’s traits may be suggestive of a form of neurodivergence, such as Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia etc. The worker may take this report to their own doctor as a starting point in the discussion and the diagnostic process if that something they want to pursue.

    In the meantime, while they are waiting for that to progress, they can work with us to gain insight, set goals and make tangible improvements in functioning, performance and quality of life.

    Personality profiling tools have played an important role in Human Resources Management for decades. Tools such as Myers Briggs, DiSC and Enneagram are used to provide the employer information about a worker’s personality for the purposes of individual and team development and at recruitment to ensure the candidate is the right fit for the role.

    The Neurodiversity Workplace Profiler is no different and can be helpful if the employer wants to screen workers to:

    • understand their unique neurodivergent profiles so that they can make the best use of their talents and abilities and provide support needed;
    • develop a Neurodiverse Safe Work Plan for workers who need temporary or permanent adjustments to their work to enable to work safely;
    • build neurodiverse teams and create a neuroinclusive workplace culture in which all workers are safe to be authentic at work and to ask for the support they need.

    The service will be available from February 2023, so get in touch now to register your interest or book in for a complimentary 30-minute Discovery Session.

Our Address

PO Box 502
North Lakes Qld 4509



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