A group of neurodivergent social workers is calling for fellow professionals to join them in adopting a new employers’ pledge to celebrate neurodiversity in the profession.
60% of neurodivergent social workers said they did not feel psychologically safe in the workplace within a study exploring their experiences.
With the backing of the Social Workers Union (SWU), the group is drafting a pledge which will encourage employers to recognise the contribution neurodivergent social workers bring to their roles and commit to act towards a neuro-inclusive workplace.
The pledge will be launched in time for employers to sign up over the summer.
Deb Solomon, a social worker from Derbyshire, is among the leaders of the campaign and said:
“Whilst we are taking steps as a group to increase understanding and acceptance of neurodiversity, there still exists a lot of stigma and discrimination within the profession. This campaign aims to challenge that stigma by supporting organisations to become neuro-inclusive, creating a psychologically safe space for neurodivergent social workers to be themselves and celebrate the numerous skills they bring.
“By asking employers to sign up to our pledge and evidencing how they are meeting it, we will be able to share examples of good practice. We will also then begin to change the culture to not only be aware of but also accept and welcome different ways of thinking and support neurodivergent social workers to remain in their chosen career.”
John McGowan, General Secretary of the Social Workers Union, commented:
“For many neurodiverse social workers, trying to fit into an employer’s ‘corporate culture’ has led to exhaustion, burnout and mental health issues.
“As the social work profession continues to suffer from a recruitment crisis, employers cannot risk losing experienced social workers because their operating models do not value diversity.
“This is an important campaign and has SWU’s full support. If anyone has any interest in helping progress ideas for the pledge, I would urge them to get in touch with Deb.”
Social workers and organisations wanting to sign up to help the campaign can contact email@example.com.
You may also be interested in watching the SWU webinar “Stepping stones towards decent working conditions” that explores key topics such as part-time work, tackling racial discriminaton, neurodiversity, tackling burnout and supporting people during the menopause.