HomeNeurodiversityJeremy's Neurodiversity Guidebook

Jeremy’s Neurodiversity Guidebook




Recently, my team at work received a new leader. A couple of weeks ago, she came to KC to meet us. During our team sync, she presented information about herself and her vision for the UX team.

During the personal part of her presentation, she had a slide that she used to talk about her neurodiversity. She had a list of her “opportunities and superpowers” that helped her set expectations for what will make an ideal outcome for any interaction with her. I don’t recall all of the lists, but a couple of examples were:

  • I am bad at remembering acronyms. So please use the whole meaning first when discussing them.
  • I tend to talk over people before they’re finished talking. Call me out on it.
  • I’m better at thinking in terms of large systems rather than small details.

As a neurodiverse person, I loved seeing this. I loved that she confidently approached the subject and put herself in control of the narrative in what she listed as “opportunities” Too often, neurodiverse folks look at those opportunities as weaknesses and shortcomings that often lead to shame and anxiety. It moved the conversation from “I’m sorry I’m like this” to “I know I do these things, but we have a chance to be collectively better.”

Strangely, the night before, I began reading a book called The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength. Former Campbell’s Soup CEO Douglas Conant wrote in the foreword about how he had what he called an “orientation document” that he would send to new people that he would be working with so that they, too, could set expectations for what all parties can do to have ideal interactions.

I love this idea. I need to do something like this. But, of course, I need to put my spin on the concept. I will develop what feels like an employee training video from the 80s or 90s. I’m not sure what it will say, but it starts with me saying, “Congratulations on meeting me and deciding to take the time to go through this orientation.” I might wear a fake mustache and have a pipe in my mouth.

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Jeremy Fuksa

Designer and Broadcaster

Jeremy has spent nearly 30 years making things for the Internet, but he's not done chewing on the internet's scenery. Learn more about him here.

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