Resources & Guides

Successful communication with neurodivergent customers

5 minutes
5 minutes
Being neurodivergent means your brain functions, learns and processes information differently than someone who is neurotypical. It makes sense to know how to successfully communicate with your neurodivergent customers.

It’s estimated more than 15% of people in the UK are neurodivergent.  Interestingly, half of those people don’t even know it. To successfully communicate with neurodivergent customers, think about:

  • The environment.
  • Format of information.
  • Your approach.
Customer paying for goods with a card.  Shop keeper is smiling.

The environment

"Filtering out sounds, lighting and smells can be hard.  I can feel overwhelmed and experience a sensory overload which stops me concentrating on what you’re saying. It also unsettles me if there’s been unexpected changes to the environment e.g. a new layout. It helps if you;

  • Ask me if I want any changes e.g. lighting or heating.
  • Eliminate as many distractions as you can.
  • Choose a calm, quiet and plain area to meet.
  • If we’re meeting in a new place send me pictures beforehand.
  • Let me know in advance if there will be changes coming up to my environment, how it will affect me and what I need to do differently."
Person with downs syndrome dressed in business clothes and laughing.

Format the information

"Sometimes there’s just too much information and I’m not given enough time to process it all.  I get anxious about the information and then that stops me taking it in.

It helps if you;

  • Give me time to process the information.
  • Use bullet points.
  • Get straight to point - no waffle.
  • Use 1 concept per sentence.
  • Use simple words - no jargon. Some documents can be converted to ‘Easy Read’.
  • Consider using more colours, pictures or symbols."
Person with Downs Syndrome at home on laptop with ear buds in.

Your approach

"I struggle if the person talks too fast, jumps about topics, uses sarcasm or jargon or if they interrupt me part way through.

It helps if you;

  • Are prepared - Be realistic about how much you can cover and include breaks or book 2 meetings etc.
  • Manage my expectations - Give an overview of what I can expect e.g. how long will the meeting/visit be,  what will happen after etc.  Then follow up the meeting with an email/text to clarify key points.
  • Do what you say you’ll do - Stick to what you’ve said. Keep it literal and without sarcasm or idioms. Keep to time.
  • Give me time -  time to settle, time to check my understanding after each point. Use pauses to give me time to respond.
  • Think about content -  Introduce the topic at start of conversation.  Use 1 concept per sentence."


Have patience, accept the person as they are, ask them questions to find out what way works best for them, don’t assume, respect behaviours e.g. stimming.

We offer several course options in this area available throughout the UK either as face to face courses or virtually. Contact us for details or book a call with us.

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