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Supporting someone who is neurodivergent

If you have a family member, friend or colleague who is or may be neurodivergent, here are some things you can do to start the conversation and offer your support.

What do I do if I think someone I know might be neurodivergent?

If you believe someone you know might be unknowingly neurodiverse, the key thing to remember is to approach the situation carefully and sensitively. Communication is key, but it’s vital to not assume anything, or jump to conclusions.

Talking to the person could be a good option to broach the subject with them, however this might not be right for every scenario. If you do judge it to be the best approach, you will need to think about starting a transparent, honest and non-judgemental conversation, focused on what you have noticed and interpreted about their behaviour.

Familiarise yourself with some of the common characteristics of neurodiverse conditions and see if they match up with that you’ve been observing.

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For example, if you believe that a family member, friend or colleague may have ADHD, consider whether they are presenting signs of impulsiveness, inattentiveness, hyperactivity, or difficulties with executive functions (things like planning, time management, and memory).

Ask them if they recognise any characteristics in themselves which may be associated with a particular neurodiverse condition.

  • Talk to them about their experiences and challenges.
  • Think about whether there’s anything you or other people can do to make thing easier for them. For example, would they prefer a quieter environment? Could you give them more space to think things through? Can you make time to talk with them more often if that’s what they’d like?
  • If you’re in the workplace, consider if it would be helpful for neurodivergent colleagues to have the opportunity to regularly check in with an advocate.

Useful resources

There are plenty of helpful guides and videos on our Resources page which may help you offer support to someone who is or may be neurodivergent.


Here are some helpful sessions and courses which you may also find useful:

Foothold neurodiversity webinars

Our own free online sessions to help you build your knowledge of how you can support neurodiverse people both in and out of the workplace.

Autism & neurodiversity in the workplace course

A course designed for managers, HR employees and colleagues of neurodiverse people, to help raise awareness of neurodiversity at work.

Exceptional Individuals webinars

Free online sessions designed to help you learn more about neurodiversity, particularly what it means for the workplace.

Peer support

If you're struggling with supporting a neurodivergent person or you're unsure what to do, you can have a confidential conversation with one of our telephone befriending team to talk things through.

Or if you'd like to become a telephone befriender, click below to apply:

"I still feel very angry and let down sometimes that I wasn’t diagnosed sooner. I have no doubt that being able to access support earlier would have made a big difference in my life."

Read Brian's story of how he was eventually diagnosed with dyslexia, but wished the signs had been spotted earlier – so he could have accessed support to make his worklife easier, sooner.


Need support?

We know that when you’re struggling emotionally, practically and financially, often the hardest step to take is reaching out and asking for support. And these challenges can have even more of an impact if you’re neurodivergent. But everyone experiences challenges in life, and it’s important to remember that you are not alone – after all, there are thousands of neurodiverse engineers just like you around the world, many of whom may be in a similar situation.

Our support is here to help you live better and thrive – whatever your circumstances. So, if you’re ready to get in touch with us, we’re ready to listen to your needs and offer whatever support we can.


You are not alone. Hear from people across the engineering community on how they’ve managed their neurodiversity journey, and what being a neurodivergent engineer means to them.


Read Brian's story of how he got a diagnosis for dyslexia - but wishes the signs had been spotted sooner.

Stuart Redgard DWH Branded

Read Stuart's story of his experiences with Autism – and how his diagnosis helped him understand himself better.

Mikaela Sanchez Branded

Learn how we helped Mikaela get a diagnosis for ADHD so that she could pass her placement with confidence.