Accessibility software company Texthelp has joined industry body the Neurodiversity in Business (NiB) Forum, capping off a year of accolades and initiatives focused on inclusive policies and practice.
Martin McKay, founder and chief executive officer at Antrim-headquartered Texthelp, said the organisation works with neurodivergence experts, including “leading companies” to develop and share best practice for supporting and managing workers who are neurodiverse.
“We want to create a place where every employee can be their authentic selves. By being free to do so, they can reach their potential and help us achieve our business goals,” said McKay in a press statement.
“We want to work with NiB to help spread the word even further. Our inclusion and accessibility tools are used by many.”
Testhelp develops and sells applications including Read&Write and ReachDeck in a bid to enable organisational workforces to become more diverse and inclusive, allowing more individuals classified as “neurodivergent” to join the potential pool of labour.
Among Texthelp’s multiple offerings in the UK, Read&Write is defined as a “literacy support tool”, helping users work with broader and unfamiliar vocabularies, among other tasks.
The company in November announced it would be expanding the availability of Read&Write to include family members of product users globally. According to Texthelp, the offer targets any organisation that provides Read&Write to all its staff.
Texthelp customers include EY, KPMG, Network Rail, and Belfast Trust.
McKay said that 20% of the population might be neurodivergent, meaning their brain functions differently — perhaps because they are defined as suffering from autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia or some other neurodiverse conditions.
“More people are neurodivergent than many believe, which is why providing access to inclusive technology tools for all is imperative,” he said in a statement.
Today’s employers are recognising that different ways of thinking can also be positive for the workplace and are rethinking negative misconceptions. Organisations that are inclusive of neurodiversity can also benefit from access to a wider pool of potential employees, McKay added.
McKay has just been named EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 in Ireland. “Ten percent or 450,000 Irish people are said to have dyslexia. My own daughter is among that group,” he said in the related announcement.