Singer and Songwriter
I wish a word like 'neurodiversity' had existed when I was younger because there were plenty of other words that got thrown around in its absence. Neurodiversity means to be part of the diversity of humanity as a whole. It means different, not flawed - and everyone is different. That's something I could have done with knowing as I grew up.
At school the phrase I heard most commonly associated with my dyslexia and dyscalculia was "learning with difficulties"; not exactly helpful, or accurate. It was hard; I had to find a way to make life work for me. In maths, I would learn the pattern of the questions, because it was easier, for me than dealing with the numbers themselves.
My first job was in a bar and I still remember the sting of shame when the manager realised I couldn't count change. In the end, I used visual memory to decide my own way of doing it and I became a pretty good barmaid actually. I know I have an intelligence, a certain type of intelligence, but it's visual and auditory; I remember and respond to colours and textures, to musical notes, not dates and names.
My thoughts are disordered, not especially logical and not at all linear - but that's okay, they take me to more interesting places. As an artist, I think it's self-evident taught that not thinking like everyone else is positive and beneficial. But even as I grew up, started doing something I love and even achieved some success, I still felt that they were these labels people could throw at me. People would talk as if my songs, my achievements, my career etc. had been achieved despite things like my dyslexia. But I was thinking, might it not be because of those things?
Neurodiversity might well fit more comfortably in a creative environment than other areas, but it exists in all walks of life and positive attitudes towards it can help all of us.
It would be wonderful if people could walk into jobs and be honest about how they move through the world. And that the fact they see things difference could be an asset. Because ultimately, wherever you work, and in all aspects of life the key to happiness and success is an environment where everyone is encouraged to be not only their best but their true self.