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Kamila’s story: How accepting difference helped me and my family 

28 March 2024

When we talk about neurodiversity, we’re also often discussing identity, and how we relate to others. Although it can be tempting to focus on how our differences can cause challenges, however, it’s also often the case that neurodiversity can bring people and families together to forge stronger, deeper bonds. This is Kamila’s story.  

I grew up in Poland, and I felt misunderstood. There was no diagnosis of neurodiversity where I came from, and I also struggled with my sexuality. A lot of people were very homophobic and it felt like you weren’t even allowed to talk about being gay so, when I came out just prior to being diagnosed with ADHD a few years ago, it transformed my life.

There was no diagnosis of neurodiversity where I came from, and I also struggled with my sexuality.

But this story really starts with my youngest daughter in the period just after I’d come out, and separated from my husband. She’s very, very kind, has a good sense of humour and is very protective of the family – particularly her cat!

She’s always playing with her every day and saying she’s her furry friend. She loves music and art and research, but she was socially awkward and struggled at school, and felt like she was bullied, which made her so unhappy that eventually she was allocated a psychotherapist. 

Diagnosis and alternative provision 

They felt it was really clear that she had autism and, although it took a while to get the actual diagnosis, we were able to get her transferred into alternative provision, which was so much better for her as she wasn’t struggling so much with strangers and the sensory stuff like noise.  

It’s particularly hard diagnosing females who are intelligent as they can often hide their struggles.

Even so, I felt guilty that I hadn’t noticed that she was autistic before then, as I’ve worked in healthcare for years and have met lots of neurodiverse children. 

But it’s particularly hard diagnosing females who are intelligent as they can often hide their struggles and, when it’s your child, you’re not always able to see it because you’re emotionally attached.  

I just wanted to protect her. Thankfully my experience did help with applying for an Education, Health and Care Plan afterward, which guarantees you access to support, as I completed it myself and was able to follow it up when I didn’t get a response.  

But, because of how difficult the process was, I moved into a different job which didn’t involve as much stress, so I could support my daughter. This had an impact on my finances. 

Feeling the squeeze 

Everything felt more expensive as my wages weren’t the same, so I approached Family Action’s FOOD club in my local area as it seemed like great value and a way to get healthy food for a low cost. The staff there were so helpful and approachable and non-judgmental. It was very different from experiences I’d had before… I felt everyone was accepted for who they were.  

Because I loved it so much I approached the FOOD club coordinator and said I didn’t mind helping out as a volunteer, unloading the deliveries and sharing out the food. I enjoyed it because it gave me a reason to get to know my community.  

Meanwhile, in my new job, I’d noticed that my boss would often tell me that I wasn’t listening to him. I was having psychotherapy at the same time to process all of the life changes that were going on and my psychotherapist suggested that I might have ADHD.  

I reflected deeply on it and thought that she might be right, so I got an assessment which found that I have combined ADHD – meaning I display both hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive symptoms. When I look back it was terrible.  

Struggling to focus 

I’d struggle to focus on anything… I could do hands-on work but writing things down for a report was always difficult. It was like there was one thought after another… like they were racing. Nothing was flowing together.

It was like there was one thought after another… like they were racing. Nothing was flowing together.

But medication changed my life. Now my focus is fine for 10 hours a day, I’m able to clearly write stuff and my new partner keeps saying “wow. I can see a massive difference”. 

People tell me that I’m calmer and I’m not fidgeting… It felt like a brainstorm, but now my thoughts are clear.  

It doesn’t stop there though, as soon after I was diagnosed with dyspraxia, which just made perfect sense as I had accidents at work all the time, and was always injured. That was really good to know as it allowed me to make reasonable adjustments at work, organise my workflow and prevent burnout. 

Again, it was funny as my eldest daughter, who’s at university, was also diagnosed with dyspraxia around the same time.  

I understand my children better now 

Since then my youngest has told me that she’s non-binary and I think that, because I’d come out as gay recently, it allowed her to know I’d be understanding. I think one thing that’s particularly helped is that I keep a reflective diary. 

Reflecting on my experiences allows my family to be closer… because I understand myself better.

I’d never thought to write my thoughts down so I could reflect on them before, and I think before I had medication I would have struggled to put it into words, but now I can come back and think about things again at a later time.  

I think reflecting on my experiences allows my family to be closer as, because I understand myself better, I can also understand them better. I can see what triggers my emotions or makes me feel burnout…. I know what the issues are.


Family Action believes that when we have the support we need, we can shape or reshape our futures for ourselves. If you need support and guidance, or for information that could help you or your family, reach out to FamilyLine. Our SENDIASS services are also available for free and impartial information, advice and support.


Mum, diagnosed with ADHD