Neurodiverse Friendly Environment in Aged Care

Neurodiversity is an umbrella term that covers a range of differences in the way people’s brains function, their behavioural traits, and how they process or convey information.

The neurodiverse population includes individuals with autism, ADHD, dyslexia, along with many more. With 1 in 100 Australians on the autism spectrum, it is important that we all take the time to better understand neurodiversity in our communities.


Behaviours and traits in neurodiverse clients

Neurodiverse individuals may experience and interact with the world in ways that are unique. In aged care settings, staff may observe a range of behaviours or traits among neurodiverse clients. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Difficulties with social interaction
  • Commitment to routines
  • Sensitivity to sensory stimuli
  • Varied communication needs

Aged care workers may notice that neurodiverse clients have specific preferences for routines and may become distressed with unexpected changes. Some may have specialised communication needs, perhaps relying on non-verbal cues to express themselves. Sensory sensitivities are also common, with certain sounds, lights, or textures causing discomfort or anxiety.

Neurodiverse individuals may also exhibit exceptional skills or deep knowledge in particular areas. Recognising and respecting each person’s unique abilities and challenges is crucial in fostering an environment of support and understanding.

Top tips for neurodiverse-friendly aged care

Creating a neurodiverse-friendly care environment is essential for the wellbeing of clients with neurological differences. Here are some top tips for aged care workers:

Respect individual preferences: Pay attention to and respect the individual preferences and needs of all clients, including neurodiverse clients. This could mean maintaining a consistent routine or adapting the environment to reduce sensory overload.

Clear communication: Use clear, concise language and allow extra time for processing information. Visual aids or written instructions could be particularly helpful.

Create safe spaces: Ensure that the living and communal spaces are comfortable and accommodating to sensory needs, which might involve adjusting lighting or reducing background noise at certain times or in particular zones.

Encourage autonomy: Support neurodiverse clients in making choices and having control over their day-to-day activities. This promotes independence and self-esteem.

Continuous learning: Stay informed about neurodiversity and the best practices for support. Education is key to understanding and providing the best care possible.

Aged Care courses prioritising inclusive care

For those looking to deepen their understanding and skills in providing individualised care, Selmar offers aged care courses tailored to meet these needs. Our courses cover units on individualised support and working with a diverse range of people, including neurodiverse clients.

Through Selmar aged care courses, aged care workers can learn valuable strategies to enhance their ability to create inclusive and supportive environments for all individuals.

By embracing neurodiversity, we not only improve the care environment for neurodiverse individuals but also enrich the care experience for all clients and staff. Compassionate, informed care respects each individual and contributes to a more compassionate and supportive community.



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