I only discovered I was autistic last year at the age of 19, but already it is clear to me that I will never have a conventional career path. I have begun carving out a successful freelance career as a speaker, writer and consultant for myself because I realise there are so many things about a traditional workplace that won’t be accessible to me and I do not want to work somewhere I feel restricted.
I’m incredibly driven and exceptionally analytical, and good at working on a million projects at once – all skills I attribute to being autistic. Some people see autism as something which is limiting, but for me it is oftentimes the source of my skills.
In 2018 I was awarded the first ever MTV Generation Change EMA for my campaigning work, which was a huge honour, especially as I was one of only five young people in the world. Last year, too, I was also on the front cover of The Observer as a leading activist in the world. I’m also really proud of the fact that in my first year of doing public speaking I’ve gone all over the country, talking at places like Cambridge University, the British Film Institute, Stylist Live & on The Guilty Feminist Podcast.
Mostly, though I’m proud that I’ve been able to create immense change despite the fact that I don’t have the big resources or technology some people or organisations have to run campaigns, I have my brain, my voice and a second-hand video camera propped up on some books in my bedroom and that to some people sounds unprofessional, but it is yet to stop me changing the world.
I'd advise every Neurodivergent person to find a mentor - formal or informal. I actually posted a YouTube video last year asking for a mentor because I realised there were so many things that I, as a teenager, simply did not know about the media world in which I wanted to work. I’ve been working with my mentor for months now and the support, wisdom and advice she has been able to give me is has been invaluable.