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Collective stories

Mid-career story

3 minute read

Read some anonymous stories from colleagues across the business who have shared their experiences. In doing so they have enabled us to reflect and make organisational changes, some of which are referenced below. 

We are in roles where we work with lots of different people and teams. Many of the people we work with don’t know that we are neurodivergent and aren’t aware of the challenges in the workplace we face each day. Here we detail some of the challenges we experience in our everyday lives. 

“My role involves reading data outputs from instruments. The external supplier has a set format with a serif font that impacts my dyslexia. We have reached out requesting they change this, but no change yet.  I have been told it’s okay to take extra processing time but it’s a significant challenge for me that I feel others don’t see and don’t account for when quoting for work. It feels to me like we can default to a ‘just live with it approach’, however there are many other scenarios where we are being proactive and it’s much appreciated.” 

“I was new to a group and needed a specialist assessment to help me with my new role. It was difficult for me to ask for help and I was told to wait until I was more established in the team. Through the neurodiversity group at NPL, I found peer-to-peer support. With the help of these people, I found out more about what was available and was able to get the support that I needed but that initial response didn’t make me feel welcome. Since then, I have seen great change and I know of others who have had a better experience than mine in the same area.” 

“In the past, people across the neurodiversity group at NPL had all experienced difficulties asking for accessible adjustments in written materials. The most common responses were being ignored, promised to do it next time or told to make the changes ourselves. The neuro-inclusive accessibility checklist has been a great tool for re-enforcing the style guide. With help from HR, Communications and various allies across our organisation we are seeing real change and a growing community of active bystanders who speak out for us. My advice would be to reach out, find the people wanting to support you and work with teams to build their understanding.”  

“Sometimes neurodivergent behaviours can seem different to others. Some of us have had comments on our behaviour e.g. how we sit/ stim and had it labelled as unprofessional. Our advice to others is that we, as a community, often aren’t well understood, that is changing but don’t feel pressured to conform. There are alternate ways to listen and participate and ultimately, it’s about getting the best out of each other.”  

“I am always unsure of when and if I should share information about myself when I start a new role. Here, I was shown neurodiversity kit on my Day 1 induction. I was so excited just to see it there, it made me feel so seen. I took loads of stuff to try and found some new fidget toys that work for me!” 

“When I look back things feel really different for us now, a few years ago we had to fight for the smallest of things, it was exhausting and emotional. Now our group is constantly growing (more than doubling in size in the last two years) and as we learn together, NPL learns with us. More and more we are included and consulted at the conception of ideas and it’s amazing seeing people champion our needs. It’s not perfect, but it’s exciting to see things changing for the better.” 

Read more stories here

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The information contained on the above text is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional or medical advice. All content, including text, images and information, is for general information purposes only and NPL does not warrant nor represent that it is intended or is suitable for a specific purpose.