My Journey So Far..

By: Amee Sandhu, Neurodiversity Coach, 3SC

14th March 2024

Amee Sandhu, Neurodiversity Coach

I started my journey as a Neurodiversity Coach in February 2024 and it has been uplifting both professionally and personally. My role is not only exciting but also presents lots of opportunities for growth and development. Being a part of a dynamic and forward-thinking company is a privilege and I’m keen to contribute my skills and enthusiasm to the 3SC family.

 

Through intentional efforts to educate myself and fully embrace the company’s commitment to neurodiversity, I have developed a meaningful understanding of the many strengths neurodivergent individuals bring to the workplace.

 

A little bit about me:

I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease categorised as a neurological condition rather than neurodiverse. Despite this distinction, through extensive research and knowledge about my condition over the years, I have noticed I have some shared symptoms with neurodiversity. These include brain fog, sensitivity to colours or sounds in crowds, and difficulty focusing – traits that are common for individuals with autism.

 

While there are similarities, my neurological condition (MS) doesn’t fully capture the experience of a neurodiverse individual’s daily challenges. Neurodiversity is much broader in terms of navigating social interactions, sensory issues, and adapting diverse communication styles, which can influence various aspects of day-to-day living.

 

For me, while there may be some similarities between ‘neurological’ autoimmune conditions like MS and ‘neurodiverse’ conditions such as autism, extensive research is required to establish a substantial link between MS and Neurodiversity.

 

An interesting article in relation to this can be accessed here: https://shorturl.at/kTY19 ‘Clinical Research: Autism genes lined to autoimmune disease.’

 

Neurodiversity Coaching and Probation Services

My role at 3SC is to coach individuals with neurodiverse conditions and who are on probation. The primary objective is to provide coaching support and assistance to help break the cycle of reoffending while gaining a deeper understanding of their neurodiverse condition. Ultimately, our aim is to guide them away from the criminal justice system and towards a more positive path.

 

During visits to probation services and in advocating for our mission, I’ve been genuinely surprised by the limited awareness within both the criminal justice system and the broader community concerning neurodiverse individuals and our collective goals. Research shows us that at least half of people on probation have a diagnosed neurodiverse condition, although, what we also know, is many people are undiagnosed and the statistics are going to be much higher than that.

 

These statistics have broadened my awareness and highlighted the cruciality of coaching neurodiverse individuals on probation. (Gov White Paper https://shorturl.at/prvyJ )

 

Anticipated Differences: Neurotypical and Neurodiverse Clients.

Understanding the differences in coaching neurodiverse compared to neurotypical individuals is crucial.

 

Here are key considerations:

 

  • Communication Style: Neurodiverse person might benefit from direct approaches.
  • Processing Information: May take longer to process information and allowing time to think.
  • Sensitivity: to light, sound and environment influences, ie: may want a face-to-face meeting, or a phone call.
  • Social Interactions: May not understand social cues or jargon phrases.
  • Strengths: Neurodiverse clients will often bring unique strengths and talents and new approaches to problem solving or paying good attention to finer detail.
  • Awareness: Neurodivergent clients may need a higher level of understanding and awareness from service providers regarding their neurodivergent traits and how they might impact them day to day. (Doyle and McDowall 2024)

 

Over the next 3 months…:

My actions for development over the next 3months will be to dive deeper into learning. I plan to stay curious and engaged on my journey with 3SC. I feel it will be vital for feedback from client and colleagues to ensure my approach to neurodiversity is both effective and supportive. I am keen to attend as many training sessions as possible to stay sensitive to and, to grow together with my neurodiverse clients.

 

My experience has not only broadened my understanding of neurodiversity within probation services but has also inspired me to actively contribute to creating an even more inclusive and supportive work environment for all.

 

As I continue to learn and grow in my role, I look forward to advocating neurodiversity and being part of a workplace that celebrates the diverse talents of every team member.