Neurodivergence in the Trades: Rosie’s Story

January 24, 2024

Neurodivergence in the Trades: Rosie’s Story

“Bring yourself to work, because you’re the best when you’re your whole self.”

Rosie is part of a growing number of tradespeople who are diagnosed as neurodivergent. A recent study from On the Tools found that 52% of tradespeople identify as neurodivergent. ADHD, autism, dyslexia, and dyspraxia are just a few of the conditions that fall under this umbrella term, and they all come with unique difficulties.

The increasing awareness around neurodivergence in tradespeople can only be a good thing. To shed light on the issue, we have asked neurodivergent tradeswomen to talk to us about everything from their career paths to day-to-day struggles.

In this interview, Rosie talks about her ADHD diagnosis, her love of problem-solving, and the lack of business support for independent tradespeople.

What is your neurodiversity, if you’re comfortable sharing?

I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD.

Has having ADHD influenced your experience as a tradeswoman?

Yes, ADHD has impacted my experience in a lot of positive ways. I’m always up for new ideas and I enjoy physical work, so problems and roadblocks don’t phase me. I get really excited about my work because I’m just naturally creative and enthusiastic.

Of course, there are also negatives. I find the business side of things more difficult than the practical, hands-on jobs.

How does ADHD influence your working day?

ADHD impacts my day-to-day work quite a bit, but I’m not one to easily give up.

I experience black-and-white thinking, so I need clear, direct instructions. I also have a lot of sensory issues.

That being said, there are a few ADHD traits that have a positive impact on my day. I’m a perfectionist, so I have to do things the right way. I’m also honest, so I’ll never lie to my clients. Sometimes my honesty can come across as oversharing, but that’s just the way my brain works!

It sounds like you would benefit from some accommodations for your ADHD. Is that something you have already considered?

Going back to sensory issues, I can get really overwhelmed. For example, if a carpenter on the same job as me is creating a racket, I have to put my ear defenders on. That’s a good accommodation because it helps me regain my focus.

I’ve also got people I can message when I’m overwhelmed. I met them on the job, so they understand and sympathise with my frustrations.

Are there changes you want to see in the industry around neurodiversity awareness and support?

I’m not sure what changes other neurodiverse people want to see, but I would love some help with the business side of things.

I’ve always struggled to keep up with the more admin-focused tasks. A Virtual Assistant would be a big help.


What advice do you have for other neurodiverse people who want to pursue a career in the trades?

Always be yourself. Bring yourself to work, because you’re the best when you are your whole self.

Entering the workforce is scary, especially for neurodivergent people. The fear will pass, so don’t give up!

Want to Learn More?

We also interviewed Hollie, a self-employed heating engineer who has ADHD.

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