PR agencies that hire individuals whose brains are “wired differently” due to the likes of autism, ADHD and dyslexia will be well-positioned to reap the benefits of lifting “the voices that haven’t been heard before."

“Any business will actually make more money and their bottom line will be improved by including more people in a more meaningful way,” said Jessica Nerren, a lecturer in communications studies at California State University, San Bernadino.

“What’s more mutually beneficial than bringing forward as much talent we can bring forward in the organizations we serve?” she said.

Nerren’s remarks were part of an exploration of neurodiversity in the PR industry with PRovoke Media associate editor Maja Pawinska Sims at the 10th PRovokeGlobal PR Summit Wednesday.

A former PR practioner, and a researcher with expertise in neurodiversity in PR, Nerren said there are several hindrances to PR agencies hiring individuals who are neurodiverse, including wide-held perceptions, or misperceptions, about what the group can bring to the industry.

Nerren’s research on diversity & inclusion, however, found perceptions about neurodiversity in the PR industry could be changed from negative to positive in less than an hour. “We were able to shift how inclusion was framed within a 45-minute focus group and through various research methods we were able to confirm it,” she said.

Yet it’s up to the PR industry to act on the idea of creating an industry that is neurodiverse, which includes getting to know neurodiverse employees as a means of maximizing their talents and abilities. “Discourse is a powerful thing,” Nerren said.

Without doing so, the PR industry will continue to miss out on a “reserve of brilliance” that is going untapped. “Brilliance is equally distributed among the population, but opportunity is not,” she said.