Neurodiversity Celebration Week – My own experiences of ADHD

It is Neurodiversity Celebration Week, which is an excellent opportunity to spread awareness of neurodiversity and celebrate what it means to be neurodiverse. Lottie Baker, Service Manager at Grange Road, gives us an insight into her own experiences of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and how this has positively impacted her work. 

At 27 I was diagnosed with ADHD. I’d wondered about it for years, but I wasn’t diagnosed as a child so I figured I couldn’t have it. As research and information about adult ADHD grew, l realised more and more it matched my experience of the world. After years of thinking about it I decided it was time to resolve the lingering question mark.  

After diagnosis, there’s relief, finally you know what is going on and why you find things harder than most people. There’s also a sense of sadness for many, reflecting on what you could have done if you’d known sooner or all the times you exhausted yourself trying to keep up with others, not knowing your brain simply worked differently to theirs and made it harder. It’s easy to fall into this thinking, but I also found that ADHD benefitted me in ways I wouldn’t have considered.  

As a project worker ADHD helped me be proactive and step up to solve problems I saw needed to be addressed. My brain loves solving problems and puzzles, so I could apply this to my everyday work and use it to create opportunities for my development. I was also calm under pressure and during incidents. The adrenaline and high-pressure environment calmed my brain, in the same way ADHD medication does, and helped me zone in on what needed to be done. Looking back, I can see that ADHD made me a good fit for this line of work. In a sector where things change quickly, need urgent attention, require problem solving and quick thinking, my fast past brain thrives and can be used to its full potential.  

To make the most of ADHD brains at work there needs to be support to utilise the strengths, but also support with challenges. So, I want to share some of the things I’ve found helped:  

  1. Be kind to yourself 
  1. Be honest: If you find something hard, talk about it and explain why it’s hard for you. You need to be honest about what support you need. 
  1. Change what you can: Adapt ways of working if you can. If things can’t be changed identify the barrier and how you can work around it (e.g. something is boring, and you find it hard to complete – can you factor in rewards or gamify it to make your brain more interested)  
  1. Find what works for you: What works for one won’t for another, so be flexible and test things out. There’s endless advice and tips online so research and find what works.  
  1. Share and talk about it: ADHD can make you feel isolated, if you can talk to other ADHD people. Don’t underestimate how much talking to someone who understands your experience can help.  

There are a wide variety of webinars you can get involved with and resources you can download  on the Neurodiversity Celebration Week website.  

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