Jamie’s neurodivergence helps her reach for success

Date Released - 17/03/2023

A NEURODIVERGENT Tameside Council employee has shared her story to help others with similar conditions find the support they need.

Jamie, 23 and a business improvement officer with Tameside Council, was diagnosed with ADHD when she was 20-years-old.

She was keen to share her story as part of Neurodiversity Celebration Week, from 13 – 19 March, to help raise awareness for a variety of conditions and highlight that support is available.

Jamie said: “As someone with ADHD, I also believe it to be incredibly important to bring attention to the various ways people are neurodiverse. I am proud to be neurodivergent, we offer the same volume of positives to negatives as neurotypicals, but just do so differently.”

Jamie has been very impressed with the support available at Tameside Council, saying: “The biggest thing for me so far is the neurodiverse network. To have a group in place already made me feel seen and heard. To go to the group and see how they try to help each other, and anyone else not in attendance, has been beyond touching.”

Neurodivergent employees can have skills and abilities beyond those of the neurotypical brain in areas like attention to detail, length of focus, detail orientation, creativity, curiosity, honesty, loyalty and extreme punctuality. Conditions that would qualify as a neurodivergence include ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia or Tourette’s.

In a neurotypical world, things can feel overwhelming and scary, with confusion between miscommunication potentially happening which can impact the wellbeing of someone with a neurodivergence. This is something Jamie can relate to.

“My emotions fill my body, mind and soul until I am fit to burst; they make my brain hurt and body vibrate. I often feel overwhelmed, stressed, panicked and have done well at learning to manage these symptoms, but that does not mean they are not there.

“However, I can also see what positives I bring. I am able to work harder and longer on tasks I find interesting. I am able to think of a million aspects of one issue. I am a more kind and caring person for my neurodivergence.”

Additionally, neurodiversity is good for business as neurodivergent brains bring a different perspective to the workplace. This can help to solve problems, save money and it can allow our colleagues to bring their whole self to work, enabling a happier workforce. It is estimated that over 550 people working for Tameside Council have a neurodivergent condition.

In the workplace the idea of inclusivity extends to neurological differences, including hiring and retaining talent with neuro-variations such as autism, ADHD and dyslexia.

Cllr Dave Sweeton, Tameside Council Executive Member for Inclusive Growth, Business & Employment, said: “Neurodiversity Celebration Week is important as it raises awareness, acceptance and understanding.  People often focus on the challenges of neurological diversity. We want to change the narrative and create a balanced view, which focuses equally on the talents and strengths of people with neurological differences.”

Cllr Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council Executive Member for Education, Achievement and Equalities, said: “Our neurodivergent employees bring so much to the organisation, offering different points of view and perspectives on how we operate. I’m delighted with the support we provide to these colleagues to ensure their voices are heard and we can help with problems they’re facing.”