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Welcome to AskEARN’s new website. As we transition to our new site, you can still visit EARN’s previous site.

About EARN

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) is a free resource that helps employers tap the benefits of disability diversity by educating public- and private-sector organizations on ways to build inclusive workplace cultures.

Getting Started

Start here to learn how to recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities — and how EARN’s resources can help.

    Phases of Employment

  • Recruit

    Build a pipeline of talent that includes people with disabilities.

  • Hire

    Identify people who have the skills and attributes for the job.

  • Retain

    Keep talented employees with disabilities, including those who acquire them on the job.

  • Advance

    Ensure that employees with disabilities have equal opportunities for advancement.

News & Events

EARN makes it easy to stay up-to-date on disability employment news and information. Start by subscribing to our e-blasts and monthly e-newsletter, which will connect you to upcoming events, developing news and promising practices in the world of disability diversity and inclusion. And don’t forget to follow EARN on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Management, Peer Training and Mentoring

Management and Peer Training

The success of any neurodiversity hiring initiative depends on the support of company leadership. The key is a commitment to managing all employees in a manner that makes the most of their contributions, rather than emphasizing differences or limitations. It is important to ensure that at all levels, neurodiverse employees, just like all employees, feel comfortable disclosing if they have a disability – or choosing not to do so if they so wish.

This means that all staff, especially direct managers, must be on board. They must also be properly trained, as managers will likely be the first people to anticipate problems and figure out ways to improve their employees’ experiences and productivity. This training should encompass not only neurodivergent thinking styles, but also how to assess employees’ individual needs, rather than assuming a general practice will work for all neurodivergent employees. HR departments should also aim to ensure that they are continuing to reach out to and support managers throughout their time managing neurodiverse employees.

It is also important to train existing employees on expectations regarding incoming colleagues with known neurocognitive disabilities. While these trainings do not need to be extensive, they should, at minimum, address neurodiverse employees’ accommodation needs and perceived differences.

Mentoring

Many companies with neurodiversity hiring initiatives implement support systems for their employees that incorporate a “mentoring” or “buddy system” component. Some companies have entire support teams to assist neurodiverse employees, including job and life skills coaches, work mentors, HR

representatives and others. Other programs simply place neurodiverse employees in smaller teams with outside representatives such as job coaches available to address neurodiversity-related issues. At a minimum, it is important to have a go-to person in HR to support any needs. Also, having peer advocates or mentors that can help neurodiverse employees navigate new environments and systems is often helpful. If the peer advocate/mentor is also neurodiverse, this is an additional benefit.