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Neurodiversity at Artswork: Joys, Challenges and Tips

Date Created: 18th Mar 2024

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Apprentice Leanne shares her experiences on her neurodiversity journey and also gave Artswork staff the opportunity to share their joys, challenges and advice for others, especially young people who may be in a similar situation.

I’m Leanne, and I have ADHD!

It’s not often that saying a sentence is both vulnerable and empowering, but here we are! I’d like to start out by saying that although I’m at the beginning of my neurodiversity journey, growing up undiagnosed and misunderstood was a challenge.

When I was in school, I was labelled as a daydreamer, disruptive and unmotivated; “Leanne is a talented girl, if only she’d focus on actually doing the work rather than chatting and distracting others.” (this is from an actual school report!) This left me feeling misunderstood and unsupported as I felt like I was different from my other peers in the classroom – and indeed, I was. Little did I know that my neurodiversity would become one of my greatest strengths! After my diagnosis back in November 2023, I finally felt able to begin my journey towards ADHD empowerment and show others the power of neurodivergent people.

Here, we are celebrating neurodiversity, and this is what our Artswork colleagues had to say when asked about it. Rather than focusing on the challenges of neurodiversity, they share stories, joys, and tips to help you feel empowered, included, and supported!

What do you wish people knew about neurodiversity?

“Neurodivergent people are a real asset to a team if they have the appropriate accommodations that allow them to thrive.”

“That the diversity bit is not disabling but actually essential to creative ideas, thoughts, and ways forward.”

“That we all experience it differently, but we all bring so much experience and skill to any situation. That we can do so much and are not limited by our neurodiversity, but sometimes the neurotypical situations that we face.”

What strengths do you have as a neurodivergent person?

“Having so much passion!”

“My hyper empathy, my creativity and my problem-solving brain!”

“Feeling so intensely when they are good things. I like the way that my head works, the rabbit holes that I fall down. The clarity of my thinking sometimes.”

“Daydreaming. I daydream so vividly and in so much detail! It helps with my creativity, problem-solving and idea generation!” 

What’s a myth/misconception about your neuro-difference?

“That people with ADHD are lazy and unmotivated!”

“That dyspraxic people can’t project manage.”

“People who are in the autistic spectrum are not creative or flexible!”

“That autistic people cannot be good in jobs that involve lots of communication!”

There are so many misconceptions about neurodiversity, and some of the most common misconceptions are explained clearly here: Neurodiversity Celebration Week | PAPYRUS UK (

What advice would you give to young people in a similar situation to you?

“That it’s ok to feel frustrated sometimes, existing in a world that has not been designed for us, that it’s helpful finding tools to communicate how you’re feeling like the emotions wheel. To try to understand your social battery metre and to document signs that it might be low so you can learn from it, it’s ok to state your needs, you can do anything that you want. You bring so much and to never give up!”

(Resources on the emotions wheel can be found here: emotion-wheels-downloadable-resource-2022-pdf.pdf (

“Do not assume that you are alone, look for strategies on how to manage your stress and anxiety. Be kind to yourself more than anything. Do not try to force yourself to be someone that you are not. Unmask when you can, find the people who accept you for who you are.”

(Information on masking can be found here: Masking (

“Take advantage of any mentoring or support to help you identify your strengths and any challenges you face and then work out how to play to your strengths and manage any barriers. Guidance can come from a  wide range of places – not always obvious – and a lot of it is free to access.”

(Resources on neurodiversity from school age, to adults and organisations can be found here: Resources | Neurodiversity Celebration Week (

Thank you to all our Artswork colleagues who have shared their experiences in being neurodivergent. I hope this information will be useful to both neurodiverse and neurotypical individuals who wish to learn more and understand neurodiversity better.

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