Former Burntisland woman nominated for prestigious national diversity award
A young woman from Burntisland who is passionate about support for autistic women and girls has been put forward for the Positive Role Model (Disability) accolade at The National Diversity Awards 2021.
Kelly Given, who has autism and ADHD is delighted to have been nominated for the awards which will take place at Liverpool Cathedral on February 4, 2022.
The prestigious black tie event recognises nominees in their respective fields of diversity including age and disability.She said: “The National Diversity Awards are the largest and most prestigious diversity awards in the UK, it's an honour to be nominated - particularly alongside some of the most inspirational people across Britain.
"I am really pleased to have been put forward. It's been an inexplicably tough few years, but to now be fully diagnosed for the first time, at peace, in a career that I love and with this nomination, it is really special.”
Kelly has only recently been diagnosed with autism and ADHD and had a difficult for struggle for years.She explained: “I was provisionally diagnosed last year after undertaking initial assessments, but wasn't officially diagnosed with ADHD until February and autism in May.
"One night last year I was in my flat and my neighbour started playing loud music, I had a massive sensory meltdown. That night was a turning point.
"I started researching sensory overload, autism in women, ADHD in women and it all clicked into place in a way that it never had before.
"I researched NHS diagnostic methods and found the initial tests they use. I took them and the scoring was overwhelming.
"I presented this to my doctor who agreed the test results were pretty undeniable and referred me to psychiatry. I was seen for the first time in February, and he said if he had seen me before now, he would have diagnosed it much earlier.”
Kelly, who represented the National Alliance of Women's Organisations at the United Nations Commission on the status of women this year, is also on the board of SWAN Scotland - the Scottish Women's Autism Network - which is dedicated to advocacy and support for autistic women and girls.
She continued: “I have a particular interest in improving access to diagnosis and early intervention for autistic girls as well as changing attitudes to neurodiversity in the workplace.
“Early intervention is particularly important because girls are significantly more likely to go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed and I am living proof of the consequences. There is not an inch of my life that has not been impacted by my misdiagnosis. If I been properly diagnosed and supported earlier, things could have been very different.”
Kelly currently works at NHS Lothian headquarters as the workforce co-ordinator for the covid-19 mass vaccination programme and was a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Kirkcaldy.
She added: “I want autistic girls to see themselves reflected in me, and I try hard to be as honest as possible about my journey for that reason.
"My purpose is to ensure that the autistic girls after me have it easier than I did, and I will succeed in that purpose.”