Misconceptions about careers for neurodiverse people: 

What is neurodiversity? 

Neurodiversity means that each person’s brain is unique, and everyone perceives the world uniquely. It refers to brain differences that individuals may possess, including but not limited to dyslexia, dyscalculia, epilepsy, and autism spectrum disorders. Each person’s brain has unique ways of understanding the world.

SATs Companion has chosen five important neurodiverse people who have changed the world and their respective fields!

Jamie Oliver – Dyslexia

You might not have known that Jamie Oliver, one of the most famous British Chefs, is neurodivergent. His dyslexia has not stopped him from opening successful restaurants worldwide nor selling millions of cookbooks that could be in a household you have visited, perhaps even your own!

Unfortunately, his dyslexia was not considered severe enough to receive proper support when he was at secondary school. He struggled intensely with writing proper sentences and his reading level was mixed. This would often put him in an awkward position in the classroom.

In spite of this, he focussed on his passion for cooking after leaving school. His appearance on the restaurant documentary The Naked Chef in 1999 made the British public aware of him.

Looking back, it’s impressive to see how far he’s come despite his academic challenges.

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disability that can cause several challenges with reading, writing, and spelling. Individuals with dyslexia may struggle with differentiating between similar-looking letters, experience difficulties with reading and may not immediately recognize familiar words. There are various; it’s important to remember that not all individuals with dyslexia face the same challenges.

Ludwig van Beethoven – Deaf 

Beethoven is considered an influential composer in Western classical music despite becoming deaf at 28 years old. It did not stop him from putting out 722 pieces of music using various instruments nor dampen his creativity and influence on other classical musicians and those outside the classical music genre.

What is deafness?

Deafness happens when one or more parts of the ear do not work. There are three types of deafness, and these are the following: sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss and mixed hearing loss. Deafness can occur because of many things, like exposure to secondhand smoke. However, some people are born deaf and use a hearing aid to help them process or rely on sign language and lip reading.

Although David Greene may have lived with epilepsy from 16 years old, it has not deterred him from being a 400-meter hurdler representing Great Britain. Excess alcohol consumption and an awful sleeping pattern brought on his seizures randomly. He stopped drinking alcohol at 16 years old, changed his diet and pushed towards becoming an accomplished athlete to help control his epilepsy.

What is epilepsy? 

Epilepsy is an umbrella term that defines medical conditions consisting of repeated seizures in a specific timeframe. These seizures may happen because of abnormal brain development; they can also occur because of tumours and a stroke. They happen because of unexpected changes in electrical activity in the brain that briefly changes how the brain works. People can experience several different ones, and not all epileptic people have the same kinds of seizures: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/epilepsy/symptoms/

Stephen Hawking – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) 

Stephen Hawking was a renowned physicist diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in 1963 at 21 years old, restricting him to a wheelchair and leaving him unable to talk and verbalise sentences using his mouth. His only method of communication after 21 was through a voice synthesiser attached to his wheelchair and a cheek muscle. He is best known for completing his academic work at Cambridge, studying black holes, writing and publishing physics books and overcoming his condition to a massive extent by living a fulfilling life until he was 76 years old and serving as an inspiration to those who are neurodiverse.

What is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and is called Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is a life-changing disease that affects the nerve cells in both the brain and spinal cord responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movements. As ALS progresses, nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord responsible for moving, speaking and swallowing (motor neurones) die, causing muscle loss and paralysis over time. Patients with ALS typically experience muscle weakness, twitching, stiffness and eventually, difficulty speaking, swallowing, and breathing.

Ann Hegerty – Autism Spectrum Disorder

Ann Hegerty is a popular television personality best known for her role as The Governess on ITV’s The Chase. Ann was only diagnosed with the condition later in life after watching a program about the disorder and seeking a diagnosis. Also, she revealed that she was autistic for the first time to the British public on the ITV reality show ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.’

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a disorder that develops in the brain that affects how a person communicates and behaves. It is a complex condition that varies and affects individuals in different ways. People with autism spectrum disorder can suffer difficulties with social communication and interaction, repetitive behaviours, and having intensive interests or obsessions.

 

Being neurodivergent should never make you feel like you cannot achieve anything! Push forward with your goals, and never give up! You can visit Mirodo, our sister website, for more information on more ambitious neurodiverse people who do not let their conditions stop them: https://mirodoeducation.com/eight-neurodiverse-celebrities-to-tell-your-children-about/