“I was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum aged nine. It didn’t cause particular problems academically, but it did mean I was aware I was ‘different’ from others in some way, and made relating to others socially difficult.
Despite this, being autistic has brought me benefits too – my attention to detail is very strong (invaluable for a legal career), and it means I often have an original way of looking at an issue and can spot things or understand viewpoints that others might miss or not consider.
My high energy levels and dedication and commitment to work I’m passionate about also mean I’m keen to do as much as possible with my time, helping me balance several different commitments at once. For example, as well as chairing the youth council of a national charity, I’m currently serving on government and parliamentary boards, running a newly-launched cross-firm diversity network, and am working with the Council of Europe and the Commonwealth on autism outreach programs, all alongside my LPC.
I’ve also found that my personality can actually be a benefit when it comes to networking and pursuing business projects – I’m very goal-orientated, determined, and keen to put ideas into practice. Being open about autism has meant I’ve gradually become more confident talking about it – increasing my self-confidence and making social situations much easier because I don’t have the anxiety of trying to follow an artificial script or hide who I am.” – Jonathan Andrews