Interview with Pride of Guernsey Diversity & Inclusion Award winner, Emily Slann

This year we were delighted to attend the Pride of Guernsey 2023 Awards, as proud sponsors of the Diversity and Inclusion category. The Awards allow us to celebrate some of those unsung heroes working hard in our community and make our island a better and more inclusive place to live.

This year the judges were unanimous in choosing Emily Slann as the winner as she had turned her own negative experience into a positive outcome for others, promoting and fully supporting mental health, diversity & inclusion and neuro diversity in our community. We caught up with Emily to hear what it meant to her to win this year's Award.

Emily on winning the 2023 Pride of Guernsey Award for Diversity and Inclusion - can you tell us how it feels to have won?

I feel honoured and humbled to have been selected as the winner.

Diversity and inclusion work often involves overcoming challenges and barriers, can you describe the particular challenges that you encountered which led you to founding the ADHD & Me support group?

ADHD & me was founded in October 2022 when my own child began his ADHD diagnosis journey. With no information provided until after a diagnosis was obtained, I was left trawling the internet not knowing if what I was reading was factually correct. There was zero support and very little understanding about ADHD and I realised others must be feeling the same way and so I set up the parental support network which now stands at over 190 members.

At the beginning of the network, I faced challenges from others saying that there was no need for such a group and even used negative ADHD stereotypes to deter me. The growing membership numbers speak for themselves.

Being a parent of a child with ADHD (or suspected ADHD) is a lonely road. It’s a battle with your own emotions as well as theirs. Always wondering if what you are doing is right or if there is another way to be dealing with things. You can’t ask a friend as they have no idea, so you struggle through on your own often trawling through the internet looking for answers. Sometimes all you need is a safe environment looking to be understood. That is the purpose of ADHD & me.

What advice would you give to others looking to enhance diversity and inclusion in their workplace or organisation?

With regards to celebrating diversity in the workplace, EVERYONE is different. Everyone learns differently and approaches things in a different way. Neurodivergent people are often fantastic problem solvers, and a credit to have on any team. Sometimes it can come with its challenges as someone who is neurodiverse doesn’t always act within the realms of social norms set by those who are neurotypical. Therefore it’s vitally important for all staff to receive training on neurodiversity so that they can support their colleagues in the most positive way. 

What are your hopes and aspirations for ADHD & me in the future and how do you hope this might impact positively on the community?

As for the future for ADHD & me, I’d love to get more guest speakers onto the island, broadening the wider community’s understanding of ADHD, allowing those with ADHD to feel less stigmatised. I’d also love to see improvements within the education system to accept the differences of neurodiverse children rather than trying to make them fit into a neurotypical box, as it is this experience that sets the platform for them to build upon.