Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2024

My Neurodiverse Journey

This week in Neurodiversity Celebration Week, a worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about neurodevelopmental disorders and learning disabilities, I share my own personal neurodiverse journey for the first time.


Receiving a diagnosis of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and Asperger’s syndrome (now considered part of the autism spectrum disorder) as an adult provided both clarity and a sense of validation for the difficulties I have faced and masked through coping mechanisms throughout my life, and especially for me in relation to navigating relationships.

It has helped explain past difficulties and provided a framework for moving forward, allowing me to better understand my own strengths and challenges and served to shed a light on why situations have been difficult in the past.

It has provided me with the impetus to delve deeper and gain an understanding of what ADHD and Asperger’s means for me personally, and for others, a process of self-education which has helped me to come to terms with my neurodiversity and embrace it as an integral part of who I am.

Embracing Strengths

Alongside the challenges, I have also discovered and embraced my strengths as someone with ADHD and Asperger’s. My ability to hyperfocus on tasks that interest me have became a superpower in my  work and creative pursuits, and led me to build a portfolio of non executive roles both paid and voluntary outside my professional practice within executive search.

I have also recently started to appreciate and found joy in my unique perspective on the world and sought out opportunities to leverage my neurodiversity as a strength rather than as a limitation.

Becoming a champion and an advocate...

As I have become more comfortable with my diagnosis, I have become passionate about advocating for greater acceptance and support for neurodiverse individuals in society, emerging stronger, more resilient, and more authentically myself than ever before.

It has also fueled my passion to not only become an advocate for neurodiversity, raising awareness and promoting acceptance of ADHD, Asperger’s, and other related conditions, but more importantly make a practical intervention through the co-founding of The Sanjay Mortimer Foundation, where I also serve as Chair.

Sanjay Mortimer Foundation

Founded in memory of Sanjay, a co-founder of E3D-Online and a legend in the 3D printing industry who played a huge role in revolutionising FDM 3D printing and was always open about his own diagnosis, ADHD.

The SMF recognises that neurodivergent minds often think creatively; they can be analytical, highly focused, excellent problem solvers, have high attention to detail, and think outside the box. They may struggle at school as traditional education systems focus on skills that special educational needs (SEN) students find challenging. This can result in them becoming discouraged and disinterested in learning.

SMF aims to find these individuals at an early age and introduce them to a hands-on way of learning, primarily through making. Interactive activities, such as 3D printing, can provide an outlet for SEN individuals, helping them to realise where their talents and strengths lie.

The fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, in particular, rely on these neurodiverse characteristics. If we, as a foundation, can find and empower these individuals within the engineering world and build their self-esteem, they may well go on to impact the science, technology and engineering sectors and help to define its evolution.

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