I was diagnosed ADHD back in 2017. It was a blessing. I’d struggled to fit in with the “normal” way of living and working for some time, leading to ongoing frustrations about whether I’d ever be “normal”.
Some people questioned whether a diagnosis was necessary. Others, lacking understanding of ADHD, felt it wasn’t a “real” psychological problem. Just the result of naughty children and bad parenting.
But finally knowing that I am actually different, gave me an answer. It allowed me to breathe deep and start the journey to understanding myself. I believe that the understanding of ADHD is an imperative part of the steps required to give everyone the right to a good (enough) life.
Okay Joe, so you’re talking about ADHD, but what’s this Neurodiversity thing you put in the title?
I thought you might ask.
Neurodiversity is the diversity of human brains and minds. Like race, gender and nationality, our brains are all different.
The neurodiverse – ADHD, Autism, Bipolar, Dyslexia – are psychological types that cannot be cured. So, ethical socially responsible practitioners work to augment the unique characteristics of the neurodiverse to ensure they play a vital role in society and live a happy and fulfilled life.
When my agency was working with Patagonia, we spent a lot of time helping them to create campaigns around their social and environmental responsibility initiatives. This included one percent for the planet and don’t buy this jacket, a movement to stop people buying new clothes, and instead, repair old ones.
In 2017, I was lucky to meet Ben Darlington, an incredible social entrepreneur behind the volunteering organisation Benefacto. Ben, opened my eyes to the world of social entrepreneurship and in always “doing the right thing”.
As I continued to explore my own brain, to find the best strategies to deal with it and be an effective entrepreneur, I became more and more interested in how global organisations deal with the neurodiverse.
I was saddened to find that, with the exception of many tech companies, businesses had often put no thought into neurodiversity.
As a business owner myself, I know why this is happening. When you run a business, you’re focused on each day as it comes. The lack of education and information around the neurodiverse is one problem.
But not the only one.
Often, the information and education around, in particular, ADHD and Autism in the workplace is about how to deal with them. Or why it’s your responsibility to hire them. Like a corporate guilt trip and men in suits stating that we must hire at least 2% autistic people this year.
This is not good. And not at all healthy for the business or the neurodiverse.
The answer, I wholeheartedly believe, is in helping the business owners and corporations to understand the unique abilities found in the neurodiverse population.
People with ADHD are extremely creative and inquisitive when managed properly. Give them short working bursts of 25 minutes and watch them do 50 minutes of work or come up with incredible creative ideas that might just solve that revenue driving issue you had.
People with Asperger’s have a wonderful ability to see the world differently to most. Give them a complex problem and watch them come up with a groundbreaking solution.
I could go on, but it goes beyond the scope of this article.
However, I plan to continue writing on this subject for a long time to come. My social responsibility is to hire the neurodiverse for my current startup, CreditStretcher, and to help businesses across the world understand the value of hiring them.
Neurodiversity is my social responsibility.
CMO day job. Learning to build stuff with code. Writing, mainly about learning to build, marketing that sucks less and psychology. If you found this article useful, subscribe to my weekly newsletter, Uncommon Aspect.