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The Story Behind The Autistic Joyologist

The story behind the Autistic Joyologist



Why Did I Start The Autistic Joyologist?

People often ask me why I launched The Autistic Joyologist, so I wanted to share a little bit of information about myself and my background.


I was diagnosed autistic and ADHD in my mid-40s, and while it came as a huge shock, it also helped me make sense of my life and the experiences I’d had until that point.


I’d gone through life feeling I didn’t quite fit in; I didn’t seem to ‘get it’ and felt I was one step behind everyone else, trying desperately to keep up.



I grew up hearing I was easily distracted – had the nickname ‘Dolly Daydream’ – and was told I could apply myself and do really great things when I wanted to, but was just a bit too lazy in other areas.


One of my favourite comments from a school teacher? I was “arrogant, but didn’t mean to be”.



I stumbled through school and university, wondering how my friends and peers seemingly put very little work in, while I squirrelled away but got some fairly average results.



Looking back through school reports, reflecting on past experiences, and learning to understand my autism and ADHD helped me make sense of why things had been so difficult.


So, why did I step out as The Autistic Joyologist, a person who passionately guides autistic and ADHD females to redefine success on their terms, embrace their extraordinary talents, and inspires them to stand out, boldly and unapologetically?


Because when I was diagnosed, so many things hit me, including the fact there was such little understanding and acceptance of autism and ADHD, particularly for females.



As I started to share my diagnosis with people, I received a lot of comments like:

“You don’t look autistic”, and “I wouldn’t have said you’ve got ADHD”.

People would question me and say, “Well, if you are actually autistic and ADHD…”.


That was really invalidating, and for someone who’d struggled to fit in and have a sense of belonging my entire life, it was an incredibly bitter sting when I tried to share the real me and that was rejected. 



It made me withdraw.

It also lit a fire under me.



What is life really like as an AuDHD’er?


I realised huge changes and shifts were needed in terms of the stereotypes that still exist around what autism and ADHD are, and the fact they have a ‘look’, because they don’t. 


It’s about opening society’s eyes to truly understanding what living as an autistic ADHDer is really like.

I believe we all have our own unique experiences, and while we may have similar characteristics, the way we experience them and how they show up in our lives is so incredibly unique – it’s a spectrum.

Many factors play into how we experience our own autism and ADHD. I certainly know that after making some distinct and vast changes since my diagnosis, there are elements I have the ability to control and manage, making my life so much easier.



I stepped out as The Autistic Joyologist to raise awareness, create a different narrative around what being autistic and ADHD looks like, and shine a light on what it means to live in a society that isn’t really designed for us.


Flipping the Narrative


I want to flip the narrative from negative to positive.

I spent so much of my life ashamed of who I was and honing in on the areas I believed I was incapable.


Had you met me pre-diagnosis, I would have told you:

      • I was rubbish at adulting

      • I lived my life in a pinball machine ricocheting from one moment of chaos to the next, never really knowing what was going on

      • I desperately wanted to fit in and belong but didn’t know how

      • I never thought I’d find a sense of peace in myself

    Does that resonate with you?

    The Negative Narrative and Data



    Pre-diagnosis, my focus was on what I wasn’t doing well. 



    I believe that came from childhood and feedback from teachers like needing to try harder and pay more attention, and being capable but not putting my mind to things.



    Research shows that by the age of 12, those of us who are ADHD have received 20,000 additional pieces of negative feedback on average than a child who doesn’t have ADHD.



    By seven or eight, the confidence and self-esteem of neurodivergent children is already knocked – we feel we’re not good, smart or lovable enough.



    I carried that with me throughout my life.



    I desperately want to make sure our next generations don’t experience that. I don’t want them to grow up feeling they’re not good enough, focusing only on the belief that they’re failing or broken in some way.



    I know what it’s like to live with those beliefs.



    Through sharing stories, I can be a voice and catalyst for change  – that’s why I’m here.



    I want to speak out, change the narrative and smash those outdated stereotypes apart. 



    I want to help myself, you and other women like us feel empowered, be strengths-focused, and able to set our lives up in a way that works for us.



    I want us to deeply understand our strengths and the skills being autistic and ADHD can bring, and create a supportive environment for the areas we find challenging.



    I want to be able to ask for support without apology, and release the shame we may have lived with for so many decades.



    I really hope that through sharing my stories and connecting with you, we get to be part of a generation that celebrates and appreciates how amazing we are. 



    I want to show what’s possible and inspire each other and the next generation.


    I’d love to connect with you and hear your stories.


    Together, I know we can make a difference. 



    The information I share is designed with that purpose in mind – showcasing what we’re capable of, enlightening and enhancing our experiences, and creating a much better future for generations to come.



    For a quiet, introverted, shy girl from Hampshire, it means so much to step out as The Autistic Joyologist.



    I can’t wait to connect with you all more.


    Nikki x



    P.S: If you haven’t taken my Success & Happiness Quiz yet, click the link. You’ll get your results immediately, with bespoke advice and tips, which are easily actionable. It takes less than 4 minutes and it’s fun!