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Hidden Impairments

There are a number of terms used to encompass neurodiversity:

  • Hidden impairments

  • (Neuro) Developmental Disorders

  • Hidden disabilities

  • Non visible impairments

  • Specific learning difficulties/differences

  • Learning difficulties/Learning differences


Some may appear to be more negative in their perceptions describing what people can’t do instead of showcasing the talents and what they can do.


Despite all conditions overlapping with one another some information is given about specific conditions and even in this website we talk about this to some extent because some people will want a ‘short cut’ to describe some of their challenges that others may understand.


The essential thing is that with some adjustments (many of which may in reality be minimal and not costly) the person in the workplace can be a hardworking, and bring skills and talents and be a key member of the workforce.


Terms used to encompass people with a range of cognitive skills and profiles.


There is often much debate about how terms are used and the labels used.

For example, whether someone is ‘dyslexic’ or is ‘a person with dyslexia’, or someone is ‘autistic’ or ‘someone with autism’ often sparks extensive debate and discussion. Getting it right or wrong can seem like a mine field and can sometimes be a reason for some employers to feel they don’t want to engage at all in case they make a mistake and cause offence.


In reality supporting each person as an individual in the context of their lives and the job and helping that person where possible to maximise their talent should be the goal.


As an employer or trainer asking the person how want to be described or addressed is more important than having a set way of making it right.  Asking what works for YOU will be greeted usually with a positive response because it is about that person and not about a label or a series of labels.


Under the umbrella of neurodiversity we have included:


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Includes Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).


Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)

Sometimes referred to as Dyspraxia.


Sometimes referred to as reading disorders/difficulties/literacy difficulties.


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

This includes Asperger Syndrome (AS) and Autism, ‘Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)’.


Speech, Communication and Language Needs

Includes non-verbal learning disorder, receptive language, expressive language and pragmatic language difficulties, Speech, Communication and Language Impairments



Sometimes referred to as specific maths difficulties


In addition, Learning Disability information is provided on this website as this may be present in some people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.


Mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression may also commonly overlap with people with Autism and neurodiversity.

Learning Disability


(From Mencap)

A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life.

People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complicated information and interact with other people. The level of support someone needs depends on the individual.

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