Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2024 – Lizzie’s Story

Submitted by Connie Maddock | 15/03/2024

We are pleased to share that all colleagues who got in touch with us are happy for us to share their stories with you. Today we are honoured to share Lizzie’s story. Lizzie Percival is one of our Graphic Designers for Vertas Group.

What type of neurodiversity do you have?


How have you found navigating the workplace as neurodivergent? Please feel free to tell us about yourself, your story, and any challenges you may have faced. Anything you feel comfortable sharing.

I am proud of my neurodiversity, it’s something that I am very open about and am always happy to talk about and share with others. But this wasn’t always the case.

There was a time when I felt embarrassed and ashamed that I was ‘different’. I would be scared to mention that I was dyslexic to new employers because I knew I would be met with prejudice and discrimination. I can recall countless encounters with managers and senior colleagues where I was made to feel like my disability wasn’t valid. One such comment that will always stick with me was when I was told by a manager “dyslexia isn’t a disability, not being able to spell isn’t a disability, it’s just laziness”.

I can vividly remember being in a team meeting and asking for clarification of a really vague brief I’d been emailed, my manager turned to me in front of a room full of people, speaking to me like a child and finishing with “Do you understand now? or do you need me to break it down into smaller words?”. The same manager would take great pride in pointing out mistakes I’d made and make ‘jokes’ about them.

Because of instances like this, I have spent the majority of my career feeling like a fraud, and that I didn’t deserve my place in a team. I have always had to fight to prove my worth and have my voice heard.

I am so incredibly lucky that I have now found myself in an amazing and supportive team, where I am treated with respect and most importantly, as an equal. Because of them, for the first time in my life, I have confidence in my ability.

Are there any common misconceptions or stereotypes you would like to address?

There are so many misconceptions! But the big ones for me are that dyslexia isn’t just not being able to read, write or spell; it’s far more nuanced, and it varies from person to person.

We are not lazy or stupid – neurodivergent people have been proven to be amongst the brightest and hardest working people in a team.

Do you have any advice or insights you would like to share with others who may have a similar neurodiversity?

Never see neurodiversity as a setback or negative quality. Embrace your quirks, they’re what make you unique, they’re what make you, you! Be kind to yourself, accept that there are some things you find difficult and if you can’t find ways around them, that’s ok, never feel ashamed. Be proud of how far you’ve come and everything you’ve achieved. If no one has told you recently, you’re doing great!

Never be afraid to ask for help or adaptations.

And finally…you’re not the only one, we’re everywhere y’know! So never feel like you have to suffer in silence, there are always people that you can talk to and share your experiences with – I love chatting to other people with dyslexia about the embarrassing dyslexic moments I’ve had. Having a community of people just like me, makes me feel less isolated and alone.

Your stories will help us to educate and encourage conversations around neurodiversity, including celebrating strengths and squashing misconceptions.

Thank you for sharing your story, Lizzie!


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