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Neurodiversity is common in all walks of life, including medicine. Supporting neurodiverse colleagues will allow them to thrive for the benefit of all.
Understanding ourselves, including our issues and weaknesses, makes us better doctors.
It is important to communicate to children and young people with neurodevelopmental conditions that, with support, they can function well and do well.
I have been in paediatrics for 20 years now, and I have cried a few times, as have we all. Most recently, one of my favourite patients (I know, but we all have them) told me that, because of his behaviour, he would never succeed at anything, that he felt like a disgrace and that he wanted to stab himself.
And if I am really honest, a big reason why that got to me was how much this boy reminds me of myself as a child. Like him, I was different: I was less socially mature and more emotional, prone to outbursts of silliness, temper and tearful devastation more or less equally. I was friendly and funny (sometimes), but though I could be good company, I was never relaxing company. Friendship was never easy, and my brother suffered an older sibling with a quick wit and a quicker temper.
I was an absolute ballache to teach, from primary school right up to … well, now, I guess. I lost focus constantly and relied on my wits and an ability to hyperfocus to get through exams. I floundered when continuous assessment required consistent effort. I routinely questioned and challenged the authority of teachers, right up to an unwise confrontation with a psychiatric examiner during finals.
Paediatrics has been kind to …
Contributors MD wrote the article with editorial help from his wife, Sally Hobson.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.