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Trainee Development and Wellbeing Service


What is neurodiversity?

All our brains are unique. Neurodiversity refers to the variations we all have in terms of our individual neurocognitive ability. Everyone has diverse talents and individual struggles. However, for some people the variation between those strengths and challenges is more pronounced and a neurodiversity condition may be present. The TDWS supports doctors in training to recognise if they may have any neurodiversity condition which may be impacting on areas of their training and provides coping strategies to overcome these and give them the best chance to succeed.

What are examples of neurodiversity conditions?

The below are the most frequent occurring conditions identified in the workplace - these are classed as disabilities under the Equalities Act 2010:

  • Dyslexia: A general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, dyslexia does not affect intelligence.
  • Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD): (formerly known as Dyspraxia): a common disorder that affects movement and co-ordination, DCD does not affect intelligence but can affect tasks requiring balance, sports, learning to drive and your fine motor skills such as writing and using small objects.
  • ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder): Adult ADHD is a mental health disorder that includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour.
  • Autism and Asperger’s syndrome: generally characterized by social and communication difficulties and by repetitive behaviours. Often, severe forms of ASD are often diagnosed in the first two years of a child's life, but high-functioning individuals may not be diagnosed until much later in life.


What are the indicators for a neurodivergent condition?

Neurodiversity can often be undiagnosed into adulthood. Some individuals with neurodiversity have been finding ways to cope in their youth which may have manifested as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and the feeling that they are not as good as others, are slower and need more time to understand instructions. Stress is a big factor associated with the difficulties reported by trainees who may be neurodivergent and this may be a trigger for seeking help - doctors in training who have benefited from a neurodivergent assessment include those who have reported difficulties in the below areas:

  • Time management
  • Planning and prioritising
  • Organisation
  • Distractions
  • Working Memory weaknesses
  • Processing Speed


 Below are some links with further information on Neurodiversity in Medical Education:

Podcast: Understanding Neurodiversity in healthcare education 

Youtube: Neurodiversity in healthcare education

This page was last updated on: 12.06.2024 at 16.30