13th March 2023

Neurodiversity Celebration Week

For Neurodiversity Celebration Week we spoke to community staff nurse Paul Staton about his experiences of living and working with the conditions of dyslexia and dyspraxia. 

We know that everybody’s brain is unique and for more than a million people in the UK, these differences mean they are diagnosed with autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia and other neurological conditions. Neurodiversity Celebration Week aims to bring about acceptance, inclusion and equality for everyone who is neurodivergent.

Photo of Paul Staton“Prior to my diagnosis, life in the workplace could be tiring and frustrating,” said Paul. 

“I would often feel like the odd one out and wonder why it took me longer to process certain things. It used to bother me that colleagues might think I was idle because it took me longer to do some tasks. 

“I wondered why I seemed to be more disorganised and why my working memory (short-term memory) was so poor.”

His diagnoses helped Paul to make sense of his conditions and he was soon able to put strategies in place to help him thrive at work 

After seeking help from Occupational Health he was able to implement Access to Work support to help overcome workplace challenges, including speech-to-text software, mind-mapping software, literacy support tools and awareness training for colleagues and managers.  

Accessing the Resolve service has also helped Paul to develop strategies to support him with any challenges he might face. Tools he has found helpful include breathing exercises, yoga and exercise.

There are many strengths in being neurodiverse which Paul has learned to recognise: one being his ability to build a natural and fast rapport with people.

“I can get on with people and seem to be able to make them feel instantly comfortable, which has been a real asset as a nurse,” he said.

“When you are neurodiverse you have many strengths, which you can often overlook, but my advice to others is that it’s important to focus on these and not the challenges.”