I know I bang on about it in most of my blogs but it’s true ‘Since my diagnosis of Autism, my life has undergone many changes’. Discovering that there’s a reason behind the way I think and understand things, which I had always considered ‘not normal’, has had a huge impact on me. While I still face daily challenges, I now understand that it’s a result of being neurodivergent and processing information differently.

There’s often a negative perception associated with labelling, yet labels are a part of our daily communication and understanding of the world. Isn’t everything in life labelled? It’s the perception of these labels that affects people. Unfortunately, we live in a society where negative labels are attached to things that aren’t fully understood. Autism, in particular, carries a stigma due to widespread misconceptions.

It’s disheartening when I openly speak about my condition to others, and they struggle to believe me. When I ask them to explain what autism means to them, they generally have no clear answer. How can one form an opinion on a topic they have little to no knowledge about? Through my diagnosis, I have gained a deeper understanding of myself and being neurodivergent. I strive to spread awareness and explain my experiences so that others can comprehend and empathise. I hope to alleviate the fear of being ‘labelled’ that some people may have, encouraging open discussions about their own struggles.

I’ve encountered many negative reactions when speaking about my condition. However, those who initially doubted my diagnosis after getting to know me later admitted their misjudgment. I believe this can only be down to a lack of understanding and knowledge surrounding autism. It saddens me to be open about something so personal which has a stigma attached to it, only to be judged, but I do it because I finally feel a greater understanding of who I am. By sharing my journey and shedding light on autism, I aspire to help others in similar situations.

Why would I bring attention to my condition knowing the negative mindset people have towards the condition? Doesn’t this alone make skeptics question the authenticity of my words and their understanding of the topic? I feel that my accomplishments since going through my diagnosis process, which include 5 award nominations, prove that understanding yourself (labelling) can be a positive thing.

Every time I am nominated for an award it feels like a victory in itself, as it signifies recognition for my efforts which gives me immense pride as I do everything off my own back with no guidance. It is always a triumph in the fact that I lack the advantages and support other nominees may have, while simultaneously navigating the daily challenges of a misunderstood condition. In my eyes, the nomination alone is a win.

I really hope our society will evolve into a neurodivergent-friendly one – I feel we are making small steps towards this but there is a long way to go. I will continue to advocate in my own way, pushing towards change. Only together, with everyone’s involvement can we create a world that embraces neurodiversity, understanding, acceptance, and inclusion.

2022 This is Manchester AwardsRising Star / Emerging Talent

2023 Genius WithinNeurodivergent Achiever of the Year

2023 Autism Hero AwardsCreative Arts & Media

2023 This is Manchester AwardsThe Dianne Oxberry Special Impact Award

2023 This is Manchester AwardsIndividual Making a Difference in the Community