483 | Research on Invisible Disabilities in the Workplace with Jessica Hicksted, PhD

483 | Research on Invisible Disabilities in the Workplace with Jessica Hicksted, PhD

In this episode, Jessica Hicksted joins Eric on the podcast!  Jessica was late-diagnosed with autism and ADHD and brings together her life experiences and education to advocate for invisible disabilities.  Growing up the “awkward kid,” she faced life’s rough spots head-on, creating resilience and determination.  These skills proved valuable in completing her PhD and dedicating her research into invisible disabilities to help promote positive social change. 

You’ll hear Eric and Jessica talk about workplace success for people with invisible disabilities, masking and executive-function drains, and ableism.  Then, you’ll also hear about how Jessica got diagnosed, self-advocacy, disclosure or nondisclosure in the workplace, what Jessica uncovered in her research, and the benefits and values to businesses for being more accommodating.  


  • [00:01:06] Introducing Jessica & meeting at CHADD 
  • [00:02:13] Diving into Jessica’s research, and, “How do we–from a systems perspective–help individuals be successful in the workplace?” 
  • [00:05:23] Are the tides really starting to turn in the workplace about invisible disabilities? 
  • [00:06:27] Masking in the workplace 
  • [00:09:25] Jessica’s experience of being diagnosed as an adult after becoming a parent
  • [00:16:14] What is an invisible disability?
  • [00:18:56] Disclosure vs. intended disclosure
  • [00:19:42] What does the data say about disclosure? 
  • [00:21:10] What kinds of questions did Jessica ask while doing her research? 
  • [00:24:24] A conversation on the prevalence of ableism in the workplace 
  • [00:27:58] Transparency and opening the door of communication 
  • [00:33:28] Money talk: What is the benefit and value for businesses to be more inclusive and accommodating for people with invisible disabilities?  What does the data show? 
  • [00:38:30] In Jessica’s data, were there any industries that were ‘better’ with acceptance in the workplace than others? 
  • [00:42:18] What are some questions a prospective employee could ask to try and gauge if they will be entering a friendly workplace for neurodivergent brains? 
  • [00:44:52] If there could be one big change in the workplace to help individuals with invisible disabilities, what would that change look like?  
  • [00:45:53] Closing thoughts 


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