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How my neurodiversity helps me in project management

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I have never had a definitive diagnoses of Aspergers. My journey to this diagnosis started when I received a diagnosis for dyslexia and within that they stated I showed traits of being on the spectrum and should have it tested. This convinced me to also seek an official diagnosis for Aspergers, but as the average waiting time for a diagnosis is currently at two years, and I felt I couldn’t wait that long, I sought a private assessment. However, I quickly realised the disadvantages of this route as I discovered I would have to pay a minimum of £1,000, with some assessments costing £2,000. As these costs made a private assessment inaccessible to me, I had to turn to a self-diagnosis. Through personal investigation and reading, I have been able to relate to many, if not all, the main traits of someone with this form of Autism. 

One of the benefits of being neurodivergent while working within project management is the ability to problem solve as I can run many permutations and data through in my head and come to a justifiable reason for a decision. I’m also able to process other people’s ideas and state with conviction if they will or won’t work with backing and reasoning. However, before my diagnosis, I have found this way of thinking difficult because for many years I would get frustrated as I thought that everyone could do this and I constantly wondered why they couldn’t see what, to me, was standing out and quite obvious.  

These days, I’ve found that if people want an opinion which is free from bias, they come to me as I look at the facts and what’s presented. The downside is people can think you're not giving their idea enough consideration because you come back with a yes or no so fast — they can mistake this for arrogance instead of simply being able to process information at a much higher speed. Then the frustration of explaining it doesn’t help. I’m currently learning skills to battle this and my main advice would be the more people know that you’re neurodivergent the more they will understand your actions, rather than assuming you're just being a Smart Alex. If you have this issue, then try and start thinking about how it can come across if you were on the receiving end of it; learning never stops in project management just as it doesn’t in life. 


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