I was diagnosed as autistic aged 20, after an upbringing dominated by content creation. I set up the Neurodiverse Media Community in 2020 when momentum for the Black Lives Matter movement grew. It became clear to me, on research, that a neurodiversity-focused media group didn’t exist. As a result, I set one up on Facebook.
I feel there are brilliant writers, camera operators, editors, even reporters out there that would thrive in the media industry if it accommodated them better. I hope that, by building the Neurodiverse Media Community into a household name in media production, I will force change behind the scenes.
In the two years since the community was founded on Facebook, it has attracted over 500 members. Initially, it began as a place for neurodivergent creatives to connect, but, keen to ensure the group helps with employment opportunities, I made the bold decision to invite diversity leads and talent managers into the group. They make up about 5% of the group.
This decision means the group is no longer a closed shop to neurodivergent media talent but I believe neurodivergent people have to step out of their comfort zone and connect with others to build a career. Diversity will only be achieved by collaboration and transparency. Day-to-day, I run the group with voiceover artist Shelley Gates.
In 2022, I invited the community to network with ITV disability leads and also continue to work with ScreenSkills to host virtual panel events on neurodiversity and accessibility in TV. I continue to speak at events on the subject and feel educating other production companies and broadcasters about what needs to change is fundamental to my work.
I continue to work with channels and commissioners to develop stories around neurodiversity and have recently stepped forward to tell these stories on screen, to help drive diversity forward.
The reality is neurodivergent people have to be involved in constructing media to make an impact on society.