Thoughts on Disclosing Neurodiversity

By: Kathryn Jellings, 3SC Director, 3SC

17th June 2024

On a webinar recently I was asked if we should disclose our neurodiversity in the recruitment process. The answer is, we should but often we don’t for lots of different reasons. I’ve been at 3SC for a long time but I never have disclosed when applying for a job in the past. Neither do I tick the disabled or reasonable adjustments box when signing up to events or filling out other types of forms. I don’t feel I need help, even if I’m like a swan on the surface but underneath my brain is working hard to do what is expected.

 

My dyslexia has got me into a spot of bother from time to time.

 

Recently I was at a well know posh cinema chain. The sign on the toilet read, ‘EVERY BODY’ so I assumed it was a gender neutral restroom. Except the sign actually read, ‘EVERY BOY’. Only one letter different but quite a shock for those chaps that I walked in on.

 

Then about 15 years ago I started work in an office. I inherited a keyboard that was very mucky, so I went and found some cleaning spray and set about giving it a good wipe over. Except it wasn’t cleaning spray, it was fly spray. I was so embarrassed when I realised that I almost didn’t go back.

 

I also worked at Public Health Wales and every time I wrote down the organisation’s name I was terrified of missing out the ‘L’ in ‘Public’. Fortunately, I never did but the anxiety about it was always there.

 

So the cinema is a non-work example but the fly spray incident was in work and I think all my new colleagues back then probably had a good laugh about it and decided I was either weird or stupid. Maybe if I had disclosed my neurodiversity they would have been more helpful? Maybe not? All these years later I’d like to think that attitudes have changed.

 

Ultimately, I don’t mind people thinking I’m a bit quirky/odd/over the top and I’m confident enough now not to care too much anyway. To the original question, I think disclosure is good if you feel confident and psychologically safe. It’s not so good if it increases your anxiety or makes you feel uncomfortable.

 

Each person is different and everyone needs to make the choice that feels right for them.