Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2024 – Richard’s Story

Submitted by Connie Maddock | 21/03/2024

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 Richard’s story. Richard Heathcote is one of our Facilities Management Assistants for Vertas Derbyshire.

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.

Navigating work has been very challenging, with nearly all difficulties having a social aspect to them.

Managing social anxiety, social situations and dealing with difficult people have been lifelong challenges. Through school, university and varied work positions – sales, management and health care- these challenges have been pertinent.

It was not until my daughter was struggling and was diagnosed with autism in 2012 that I considered that I may be autistic. I was diagnosed in 2016 by the NHS. Through a better understanding of myself, I now work in a role that far better suits my neurodiversity. I feel I’m more able to be myself, though this is something I’m still working on.

What strengths and skills do you feel your neurodiversity has enhanced for you in the workplace?

I enjoy routine and repetition. I have a good attention to detail. Working as a caretaker requires a lot of lone working which I’m particularly well suited to. I also have hyperactivity, which means that I really enjoy physical aspects of the job and being on the go.

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

There is no mild or severe autism. When autism is referred to as a spectrum, it means autistic individuals have different strengths and weaknesses. It can be very easy to overestimate or underestimate how capable an autistic individual may be at a certain task.

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

I think the most important thing is, to be honest with yourself and do the things that make you happy.

Your stories will help us to educate and encourage conversations around neurodiversity, including celebrating strengths and squashing misconceptions. Thank you for sharing your story, Richard!


Share this article

If you like this article please share it with your friends

Press enquiries

For all press and media related enquiries please contact

Beth Wade

Keep in touch

Check out our social media channels and follow us to keep updated with our latest news.