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.
2024 and beyond, updated January 2024
It was around the time of the Black Lives Matter movement when I knew I needed to do more for the neurodiverse community. I am sure there are some brilliant directors, camera operators, editors and reporters out there that would thrive in this industry if it accommodated them better.
In the last year, I've worked with the BBC, ITN, Sky and News UK to improve neurodivergent representation on and off screen and I think we're making progress. That said, it still feels like I'm on my own when it comes to actively fighting for neurodivergent people and that neuroinclusion is just not a big enough priority for the industry.
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?'
I'm so proud to now be an on-screen advocate for neurodivergent people. It's not just us who are marginalised however, freelancers and those from ethnic minority and lower socio-economic backgrounds continue to struggle in our industry. Diversity wins from better use of freelancers. It's time the industry woke up to that.
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."