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Charity launches seafarer neurodiversity survey

A new seafarer neurodiversity charity has launched a survey to gather benchmark data to help create a maritime neurodiversity strategy.

NeurodiversAtSea is a charity founded in September 2022 with the aim of enablement and empowerment of neurodiverse people, helping them to reach their full potential within the maritime industry. The charity’s purpose is also to educate and inform maritime professionals in neurodivergence issues and the benefits of neurodiversity in the maritime sector.

The survey is strictly anonymous, said the charity, takes around 10 minutes and can be accessed here.

“The survey is the first of its kind,” said NeurodiversAtSea chair and founder Dan Smith. “It will identify the range and depth of neurodiversity in our profession and the challenges faced by neurodivergent seafarers. Uniquely, it will identify the scope of the opportunity to leverage neurodivergence within the industry.”

Smith told Seatrade Maritime News the charity would most like to hear from neurodivergent seafarers and other neurodivergent people within the maritime industry as those are the people the charity is dedicated to helping.

Neurodivergence is a broad term for the different ways in which people perceive the world, distinct from neurotypical or “normal” perception. Examples of conditions/disorders associated with neurodivergence are autistic spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, Tourette’s syndrome, anxiety disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

The data from the survey will be used to develop an industry strategy, set to be published in the new year, based on a corporate commitment. The charity said is strategy will include an actionable toolkit for employers to harness the benefits of neurodiversity in the workforce, with methods and policies for managers both ashore and at sea.

“Neurodiversity means embracing the full spectrum of talent at work,” said co-founder and trustee, James Stockbridge. “Seafarers are incredibly diverse, but our industry still has a huge opportunity both to acquire and develop neurodiverse talent, and to do the right thing by neurodivergent seafarers. Metrics are a first step to realising the neurodivergent advantage, for both seafarers and employers. We strongly encourage anyone in the industry to complete the survey, and to share it with colleagues.”