Embracing Neurodiversity

Reflecting on 2018 - the year I wanted to make a difference for Neurodiversity

At the beginning of the year, I wrote of my desire to make a difference and of wanting to turn my words into action. As I sit here, I am reflecting on the 3 main activities that were borne out of this desire.

1. Establishing Me.Decoded

Launched in June, Me.Decoded, now has more than a dozen contributors who have contributed 52 articles. Together we have highlighted what it is like to be Neurodivergent. We have shared the challenges of being diagnosed, masking, being believed, and being supported.

Most importantly, we have spoken of the importance of being true to yourself and what is possible when Neurodiversity is embraced.

As we head into 2019, I look forward to welcoming additional contributors to Me.Decoded and to being able to share more Neurodivergent insights in our quest to shape a world that embraces Neurodiversity.

2. Establishing a Neurodiversity Employee network

At work, I launched a Neurodiversity employee network with a mission of bringing about changes in the workplace to better support Neurodivergent employees, as well as those caring for someone who is neurodivergent. Our first aim was to raise awareness, starting with blog posts (you can view my post on the company website, here) and an internal intranet page.

The network is in the early stages, however we now have a core group who get together regularly and a plan for what we hope to achieve in 2019. I can't wait to see how much of this we will achieve.

3. Advocating for Neurodiversity

By far and away the biggest step I personally took was to step out from behind blog posts, and stepped up (literally in some cases) to advocate for Neurodiversity.

As part of this I climbed a step ladder at Speakers Corner one Sunday afternoon where I spoke of what it means to be successful and how we need to create environments in which the Neurodivergent can be support to succeed so that everyone can benefit from everything that they Neurodivergent have to offer.

This was quickly followed by my first ever public speaking event at the Game Changers Summit, which was hosted at the House of Commons, where I spoke about my personal journey and how my autism diagnosis changed my perspective. It made me realise that I am not difficult, I am different, and there is a value in that difference.

You can watch the talk, by clicking below.  

Already there are plans in place for 2019 where I will be continuing to advocate for Neurodiversity, and I can't wait to share for them.

All in all

Looking back on everything that happened though the year, it has certainly been one of the biggest years of change for me. I feel more empowered and hopeful that I have done in a long time, and I am excited about what the future holds for me and my family.

As we head into 2019, I am excited about the possibilities on what we can achieve to change perceptions and bring about the changes needed for Neurodiversity.

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About Helen Needham

Helen is the originator and founder of Me.Decoded. A passionate advocate for Neurodiversity, - diagnosed as autistic in her 40's after a lifetime of feeling like she was on the outside looking in.
  • England