What inclusion at work means to me

Photo of Laura Willig smiling outside of Speech and Language Therapy department

National Inclusion Week is an opportunity to consider what National Star can do to support our colleagues to be their true selves at work. Here Speech and Language Therapist Laura Willig shares her thoughts on inclusivity in the light of her ADHD and dyslexia diagnosis…

‘To be honest, when I think of inclusive practice, I suppose I have always thought more about the young people we work with rather than myself or my colleagues. But this has changed over the past year, I have met more and more people working at National Star who, like me, have a neurodivergent condition. I have ADHD and dyslexia, both were diagnosed while I was an adult. The dyslexia was picked up when I was in university and the ADHD was diagnosed around three years ago.

‘About a year ago, I became aware that two colleagues that I work with regularly, were either going through the diagnostic process or were considering it. Others that I spoke to, who worked in various parts of the organisation, were talking about struggling with certain parts of their job due to similar conditions. The more conversations I had the more I realised that it can feel really isolating to have a condition that you are continually compensating for, but you don’t necessarily feel comfortable sharing your struggles with those around you.

I am lucky to have an incredibly supportive team around me

‘I am lucky enough to have an incredibly supportive supervisor and line manager, both of whom have strived to understand the challenges I can experience in my role, they have also backed me through an Access to Work assessment. The Access to Work assessment made recommendations for strategies and equipment that would support me to do my job.

‘Both my supervisor and my line manager have worked really hard to make sure that those recommendations have been put in place. I am aware that this hasn’t always been an easy process for them, it has put additional pressures on them, when they are already really busy. There didn’t appear to be a clear process for them to follow or much support, they were almost making it up as they went along. It did take a while to get the recommended equipment in place, but now it’s here and it is making a difference. I am also lucky enough to have an incredibly supportive team around me, who accept me for who I am and are ok with my quirks!

Going forward

‘I can see that the willingness is here in our organisation, but it would be great if there were clearer processes in place to support everyone involved, and that everyone knows what they are, and where to access them. I think that going forward, I would like to know that everyone who has a neurodivergent condition is confident to talk about things they are good at and things they find more challenging.’

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