Neurodiversity & Me

Rich Quelch

by | Mar 21, 2024 | People

Aimee shares her Neurodiversity story

Aimee has been working with John Good Group since July 2023 and as a Junior Data Analyst, she works on creating reports and dashboards for all businesses within John Good Group. Aimee is also involved in cleaning and maintaining data and further developing and maintaining our custom applications.  

Aimee tells us her amazing story of Neurodiversity & Me, have a read below.  

So, Aimee, tell us about your personal journey with autism? 

I was diagnosed as autistic when I was 11 years old. I remember being in the car with my mum on the way home and I asked if I’d ever be ‘normal’. It’s been a difficult journey but I’m proud of where I am now, living in my own place with a job I love. 

How does autism impact you daily? 

My senses tend to be stronger than average, which can make daily life quite challenging. I find social situations difficult and sometimes confusing. It can be difficult to interpret non-verbal communication or tone, so I often worry that I’ve made someone angry when I haven’t. I can also find it hard to cope with unexpected changes to my environment or routine. 

What techniques do you have in place to help you? 

I use noise-cancelling headphones whenever I leave the house. This helps prevent me from getting overwhelmed. If things do get overwhelming, I need to find a quiet place to breathe and calm down.  

What is your current role at John Good Group? 

I am a data analyst in the innovation team. I’m primarily responsible for reporting, but I also work on developing new web applications that can help people within the company. 

What is your long-term job ambition? 

I’d like to develop my data science skills and work on developing AI models for analysing large data sets. 

Tell us about your experiences of neurodiversity at work. 

I was really anxious when I first started. I didn’t know how well I’d settle in or if people would find me irritating. Having just left a postgraduate research role, I didn’t have much experience with working in an office, so it was a very new environment that I had to get used to. There are a lot of social rules you must learn, and I was scared I’d make a mistake. 

I don’t really like it when meetings get changed at the last minute, but I know it has to happen sometimes. 

I’ve found my attention to detail has been very useful and helped me solve problems, even things that people might not have noticed were problems at all. I’m good at repetitive tasks, which is handy when cleaning data sets before analysis. 

What has been helpful at work? 

When I first started, I had shorter working hours while I got used to being in the office and learning my role. I was slowly introduced to everyone, as too many people at once would have been stressful. I wear my headphones for most of the day as I can hear conversations elsewhere in the building if I don’t! My manager knows that I process written instructions better than spoken and that it’s best to split things down to bullet points where possible. 

Sometimes I can struggle with my concentration, but if I ask my team for smaller tasks I can get done, they are happy to send me some. 

What would be your advice to other neurodivergent individuals entering the workplace? 

Believe in yourself. You can do this. Yes, it will be difficult, but it can be really rewarding. Be open with your manager about your struggles, as they want you to succeed and will work with you to help you get to where you want to be. 

What advice would you give to employers on how best to support neurodiversity in the workplace? 

Neurodivergent people can bring new perspectives to their teams. We see and experience the world differently, and we can offer so much if given the right support. Each person is different, so the ‘right support’ will be different too, so you’ll have to experiment a bit, but it’s worth the effort. Be open-minded, patient, and look forward to learning new things! 

We are empowering neurodivergent individuals to achieve their potential and our mission is to change the narrative, increase acceptance and understanding, provide education to all our employees and celebrate neurodiversity.   

It is time to recognise the many strengths and talents that come from thinking and perceiving the world differently.