DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Jan Johnston-Tyler

January 28, 2010, 10 am Pacific, 11 am Mountain, Noon Central, 1 pm EST, 1900 (7 pm) Zurich and Istanbul

Neurodiversity - Providing Career Advising for Individuals with Hidden Disabilities


With an estimated 1:5 workers suffering with a hidden disability, every career counselor will come in contact with a client who faces different vocational challenges than his or her peers. But, how do you help a client whose challenges may include depression, anxiety,  learning deficits, Asperger’s Syndrome, bi-polar, ADHD? Jan Johnston-Tyler, counselor and principal of EvoLibri Consulting, will discuss how to work with these individuals: what assessment tools work, what exercises are vital, how to provide necessary structure for individuals who struggle with organizational skills, how to secure additional training for your client, why volunteering is so important for this population, and where to turn if the disability precludes fulltime employment. You will also learn to identify (not diagnose!) various undisclosed or undiagnosed challenges.
Activity: Vignettes to ponder before the interview


  1. You have a client who appears very disorganized, and in fact has missed two appointments. He seems very earnest and says he really wants to work with you, but yet rarely follows through on any work outside your meetings that you have suggested, such as networking, joining professional organizations, and so forth. What do you do?
  2. You have a client who tells you that he has been diagnosed as having General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and you suspect that it is getting in his way at work as a marketing director. What might you suggest for this client?
  3. A young woman who has just graduated from college with a BA in Business Administration seeks your services for job placement. She rarely makes eye contact, has a rather flat affect (monotone, few facial expressions), and appears to have little understanding of what the world of business is really like – she is not interested in accounting or finances, management, product development, manufacturing, or human resources. How would you work with this client?

Jan Johnston-Tyler has Master of Arts degree in Counseling from Santa Clara University, with an emphasis on Career Development and is currently working toward licensure as an Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), a new professional license in California. She is the author of The Mom’s Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome, and four DVDs on neurodiversity, and is considered the subject matter expert on working with this population in vocational, post-secondary education, and transitional areas in the SF Bay Area.


Johnston-Tyler works with individuals and groups, as well as consults with non-profits, schools, and corporations, helping to bridge the gap between the neurotypical and neurodiverse worlds through education, advocacy, and mediation. A master herself at retooling careers, this is Ms. Johnston-Tyler’s third career since graduating from UC Berkeley 28 years ago. A fairly recent refugee from high-tech management, she has extensive experience in employee development and enterprise project management, holds several international awards from her innovative work, and is a laureate for the prestigious Smithsonian Award of Innovation.


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Before we begin, I'd like to remind listeners to pres 5* if you have a question and fill out the evaluation form linked on your call-in instructions.


This is Dr. Sally Gelardin with Careerwell Tele-Interviews.  I am pleased to welcome Jan Johnston-Tyler, a career counselor, author, and international award winner,  who specializes in neurodiversity, providing counseling for individuals with hidden disabilities.  Most of us have or know someone with a hidden disability but how many of us know how to guide individuals in this population into making career decisions? That's what we are going to find out today.  Welcome Jan...

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Interview Questions


  1. What does neurodiversity mean? Could you give some examples of neurodiverse challenges?
  2. What is the prevalence rate (frequency in which neurodiversity occurs)?
  3. Who are your clients (what age groups, background, stage of life, etc)?
  4. How would you advise a young adult who has ADD and dropped out of Jr. College, because she wasn't interested in the general ed courses?
  5. When we were talking before the interview, you mentioned three themes that guide your counseling of neurodiverse individuals: vocation, ability and capability?  Could you explain these three themes?
  6. How you got into the field of working with individuals with hidden disabilities?
  7. What kind of strategies do you use? Could you give an example?
  8. What happens if you have a high school student who is transitioning to the world of work who is bent on doing something you don't think he is capable of doing? 
  9. What advise would you give to career practitioners who work with neurodiverse clients?
  10. If career practitioners had more questions on neurodiversity, do you have any products or resources to which you could refer them?
  11. How can you be contacted for further information?
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Thank you Jan and thank you listeners, for this most helpful hour of discussion on individuals with hidden disabilities.  Here's a preview of next month's outstanding speakers:

  • 2/11/10 Kendall Dudley, Learning from Architecture: How Building Design Provides Insight into Career Direction
  • 2/18/10 Jim Cassio, Choosing Work for a Sustainable Future
  • 2/25/10 Mary McCall, Cultural Values, Career and Caregiving: An International Perspective

I look forward to your participation in these interviews next month. If your organization features any of these speakers at in-person conferences or workshops, let me know and I would be glad to pre-publicize your event through Careerwell.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.