I'm very lucky to be doing something I'm passionate about and pushing towards tangible changes for autistic people. I loved studying law, but "law" the job is very different from "law" the academic field and perhaps wasn't for me after all. During my Masters, I became a Youth Patron for Ambitious about Autism - I relished being part of a team working towards change, and decided to look for jobs like that when I hit the graduate void. I joined Autistica's policy team in 2018 and still can't believe I'm here!
Co-presenting "Are You Autistic?" last year (with fellow Ambitious Youth Patron Sam Ahern) was an incredible experience. I kept saying at the time that if we helped one undiagnosed autistic person recognise themselves then we'd have done our jobs, and I've heard about several!! At Autistica, I'm leading on our work around the forthcoming Autism Strategy review, and it's great seeing the project take shape. We ran a consultation and got a huge number of responses - some of it made horrifying reading, but recognising these stories is the first step towards helping those in similar situations.
My advice to another woman who also happens to be Neurodivergent is don't compare yourself to others - easier said than done, but true! It helps to have a supportive team, knowing that I can be honest when things are hard makes a massive difference. Also, invest in earphones! They help with blocking out noise which improves my focus – they are also a calming influence when anxiety arises.