This week the Trust is marking Neurodiversity Week – a worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences. As a Trust, we aim to support all our colleagues and ensure they feel they can bring their best self to work. This week, we have been speaking to the Neurodiversity Lead at the Trust, Aaron Hobin, who has written a blog on his experiences of neurodiversity and what we can do to support our colleagues, friends and family members to ‘harness their superpower’.
Hi, my name is Aaron and I am the Neurodiversity lead for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
This week is Neurodiversity Week and across the Trust we will be raising awareness of the preconceptions of those who are neurodiverse, and what we can to encourage everyone to speak up, speak out and be proud.
I have been working for the Trust since 2017 and achieved my nursing degree back in 2020, prior to which I was a Healthcare Assistant. If it wasn’t for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, I would never have known I was dyslexic. I was diagnosed in 2017 at the age of 27 – a lot of adults are often diagnosed later in life and for me, this really helped me to understand why I had struggled so much in the past.
Throughout my life I was always told I was lazy, didn’t concentrate, had awful handwriting, and nobody picked up on these things. Since I received my diagnosis, I have become an advocate within my student nursing and over the past five years I have ran awareness sessions across the Trust and spoken at webinars for Universities, the RCN, NMC and Health Education England. I’ve also developed two e-learning packages for colleagues across the Trust, so they can gain a better understanding of how to support colleagues with dyslexia or neurodiversity’s.
Neurodiversity can include, but is not exclusive to; dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, autism and ADHD/ADD. For me, neurodiversity is a hidden superpower, to me you are all superheroes. We are all needed in the workforce, and it is my role to support colleagues to get a diagnosis, raise awareness and get rid of the negative stigma.
One question I wish to ask you all is: “if you are explaining something to someone and you don’t know that they need a reasonable adjustment – are we truly giving them an informed decision?” It can be hard to open up and ask for support, but it is by using reasonable adjustments that stress will be reduced and workloads will be more manageable and accessible.
Don’t be afraid to speak up – speak out and be proud of having a neurodiverse condition, it can be a superpower if you know how to harness it.