This month we caught up with Rachel Worsley, Founder and CEO of Neurodiversity Media to discuss the announcement of a new partnership with Xceptional that will create a resource library aimed at supporting and empowering autistic people.
Rachel, tell our readers a bit more about Neurodiversity Media and its mission.
Neurodiversity Media is a global tech-enabled media company. Our mission is to equip neurodivergent professionals (including autistic people), their support network and businesses with accessible resources to unleash their potential at work. As the autistic and ADHD founder and CEO of this company, it’s a cause close to my heart.
We produce journalism and resources in multiple formats (such as visuals, audio and video), either in-house or in partnership with organisations and individuals. We host the content on our recently launched Resource Library platform, where our members can personalise and filter that content according to their professional development needs or topics of interest. Our content has also been popular with the broader autism community, including autistic participants in the NDIS and families with autistic kids. There is a universal need for evidence-based information that is accessible and solutions-oriented, not just for the professional audience.
Congratulations on your new partnership with Xceptional! How did this collaboration evolve?
Thank you! Xceptional and Neurodiversity Media share the same desire to let autistic people speak for themselves where possible (not speak about them) and we serve a similar professional audience. Xceptional has relationships with employers open to employing autistic staff as well as jobs on offer for autistic professionals. I have been able to reach and connect with many autistic professionals through my storytelling and sharing resources that resonate with that audience in an authentic way.
The missing link is a streamlined, logical pathway where we reach and connect autistic professionals with accessible resources, support networks and meaningful employment opportunities. By joining forces, we’ll be able to achieve our mutual goal of helping autistic professionals thrive at work.
We look forward to seeing the Content Library! Can you share some of the topics you are currently working on?
We’re working on topics such as how to thrive at work during the COVID-19 pandemic, networking for autistic professionals and how to thrive at work without masking. We’re focusing on personal stories of autistic professionals in those scenarios and elucidating practical take-away points that can be applied at work. We also like to highlight the work of managers who have learned to work with autistic professionals and are willing to speak up about how they are valued in their workplace. Publicising those perspectives is key to dismantling the stigma that it’s too hard to accommodate autistic people in the workplace. Given the right support, we can thrive. In many cases, that support comes down to good leadership practice, like clear communication.
How are you engaging with the autism community to help create & co-design content for the Content Library?
I’ve been able to interview or send through questions for Xceptional’s autistic candidates to help with the content creation process. We came up with our list of topics to cover based on their experiences, my lived experiences and also the lived experiences of dozens of autistic professionals globally that I’ve spoken to. I’ve gathered many of those insights through engagement on social media and at offline events (less so since the pandemic hit).
My lived experience helps to guide content creation, but I never assume that I know what the autism community wants. After all, if you meet one person on the autism spectrum, you’ve only met one person on the autism spectrum. So I’m always engaging with the community through all sorts of channels to get feedback. Often, sharing my experience prompts people to come forward and tell me privately about their experience. Other times, I’ve used my company social media channels to test content topics of interest, ask questions and engage with the feedback that we get.
When can we expect to see content and how can readers access the Content Library?
Our first blog featuring Maria at Mable about how she thrived at work during the COVID-19 pandemic is now up on the Xceptional website: https://xceptional.io/employees/unexpected-benefit-autistic-professional-thrived-working-home/
The story has also been republished in our Resource Library. People can join the Resource Library for free through this link: https://www.neurodiversitymedia.com/join We will be publishing more in the next two months into October. Stay tuned!
With thanks to Rachel Worsley
Founder and CEO of Neurodiversity Media