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 the celebration of differences in individual brain function and behavioural traits.
Forms of neurodiversity include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, tourette syndrome and complex tic disorders. Estimates suggest one in five people are neurodivergent.
In 2020, I founded The Neurodiverse Media Community on Facebook.
New goals for 2022/2023, written October 2022
It was around the time of the Black Lives Matter movement when I knew I needed to do more for the neurodiverse community. There are some brilliant directors, camera operators, editors and reporters out there that would thrive in this industry if it accommodated them better.
My goals for the next six months are very much to get a piece of content about neurodiversity commissioned and to lead that story on-screen. Having worked with Chris Packham, and seeing very few others like him out there, I know I need to step up for the next generation. Representation is everything.
I've always felt like there was this stigma around wanting to be a 'TV presenter', always being told it's very competitive and that I wouldn't stand a chance. I ultimately suppressed that ambition to focus on being a producer, but was recently encouraged (at this event) to try life on-screen.
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, released in 2020, I talk about my thoughts on neurodiversity and what the media industry needs to do to better.
"What a great message. Well done for speaking out on this 👏"
"I agree as I’m one of them who would do very well in TV if I was accommodated well by industry and interviewers."
"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."