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Present Pal: A company built on accessibility
Estendio chief executive Chris Hughes/supplied
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Present Pal: A company built on accessibility 

In the latest article about neurodiversity and tech from Skills Development Scotland, Chris Hughes of Present Pal says it’s really not as difficult as you think to accommodate neurodivergent talent.

Chris Hughes set up Present Pal, the world’s first and only accessible presentation support app, after struggling at university with his dyslexia. The app allows you to create flashcards, notes and safety nets to help lower presentation anxiety, which is an issue that faces a lot of neurodivergent people.

As a company formed and built on accessibility, as you would expect, Chris and Present Pal do all they can to make those with disabilities feel welcome and comfortable in the workplace. “We are a Disability Confident employer, and we aspire to be a Disability Confident leader,” enthused Chris. “We have everything in place to achieve that, but because of the pandemic the assessors can’t do office visits to compete the audit.”

He stresses that you don’t have to go down the Disability Confident route but he says it is best practice.

“Creating universal acceptance of all disabilities, visible or otherwise, where everyone can flourish makes perfect business sense,” said Chris.

“But if you don’t have the resources to do it formally, just be more aware, more sensitive and use your common sense. Read up about the different disabilities, and instead of seeing them as challenges, see them for the opportunity they really are.”

The Present Pal founder goes on to cite a perfect example of opening your eyes. “Most people would hesitate to put someone with dyslexia into a marketing department because they have ‘issues’ with reading and writing. But dyslexics are also super creative, and could come up with some great content and ideas that other people just would never think about. That person will look at things in a different way leading to unique marketing solutions.

He also said that it’s not as difficult as you might think to accommodate neurodivergent individuals. “Simple, common sense things like early stage chats instead of relying on a CV, or sending questions in advance of an interview to allow preparation time can help a neurodivergent candidate feel more confident and comfortable, even at the job applications stage.

He concluded: “Little changes can make a big difference to the world of a neurodivergent individual.”

For more information about the support available for companies to recruit neurodivergent talent, visit SDS’ employer dedicated site Our Skills Force where you will also find more case studies to inspire you.

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