Neurodiversity

One subject that is particularly close to my heart is neurodiversity. I was diagnosed as autistic in 2017 and whilst it presents difficulties domestically, in a work environment, it provides a real number of strengths.

Neurodiversity is defined as "the range of differences in individual brain function and behavioural traits."

Neurodiverse conditions include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, tourette syndrome and complex tic disorders. One in seven people are neurodiverse in the UK.

I recently founded The Neurodiverse Media Community on Facebook.

2020 outlook

I have been particularly inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. I know I need to do more for the neurodiversity community in a sector where it needs greater representation. There are brilliant directors, camera operators, editors, even presenters out there that would thrive in this industry if it accommodated them better.

Inclusion has to be made a real priority. So much neurodiverse talent will be turned away due to processes that will naturally discriminate them. Interviews are an example where having an invisible disability can make your chances of getting work ten times tougher. Communication is critical yes, but do we need to mark somebody on their face-to-face social skills in the modern age? We need to look at ourselves and ask 'can we do more?'

In this video, I talk about my thoughts on neurodiversity and what the media industry needs to do to better.

Industry Reaction

"What a great message. Well done for speaking out on this 👏"

Mary

"I agree as I’m one of them who would do very well in TV if I was accommodated well by industry and interviewers."

Sib

"Totally agree. There is very much a lack of representation within the creative arts. I honestly think companies etc are just making a token effort."

Chris

Other things I've been up to

Interview with SIGN for Industry Voices

In January 2021, I was interviewed as part of research conducted by the Screen Industries Growth Network.

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The Neurodiverse Media Community

In August 2020, I set up the Neurodiverse Media Community, a private group on Facebook. It is still growing in members.

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BBC Diversi-tea Staff Stories event

In February 2020, I addressed colleagues at the BBC at MediaCityUK and described how a diagnosis 'changed my life'.

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Workshops with neurodiverse charity

In October 2020, I teamed up with Starling, who provide inclusive creative workshops for socially isolated young people.

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Interview with the National Autistic Society

In June 2020, I spoke to the UK's leading autism charity about the importance of the representation in the media.

Asperger's and I

I told my story in this video just a few months after my diagnosis, when I related more to the term Asperger's. It is a term officially no longer used.