Data Science Talent Logo
Call Now


BPA Quality’s Elle Neal is a data scientist who specialises in building AI solutions from LLMs and turning unstructured data into contextual insights. Elle is a Community Champion for Cohere and Databutton, where her tutorials and applications break down barriers to accessibility in AI. She also shares her love for data science and AI in a Robotics and Coding club for young people at STEM.

In this post, Elle reflects on her ADHD diagnosis; the challenges it initially presented and the positive impact it had on her career. She explains how her understanding of ADHD empowered her to use AI in new ways, and ultimately as a vehicle for augmenting neurodiversity:

From Invisible Struggles to Empowering Discoveries: My Journey with ADHD

My path to the present has been a challenging one. At the age of 37, amid grappling with extreme anxiety post the birth of my son, I was diagnosed with ADHD. Initially a daunting revelation, this diagnosis prompted me towards acceptance, understanding, and innovation, thereby shaping my personal and professional life in unforeseen ways.

For a significant part of my life, I found myself engaged in a ceaseless battle with structured academic environments, seemingly fighting against my own brain. This internal strife felt like a competition that I couldn’t win. However, my path changed when I was able to share these struggles with my coach and mentor at Cambridge Spark. Their empathy and support were instrumental in connecting me to necessary mental health resources, leading me to consult my doctor and eventually, to receiving my ADHD diagnosis.

Receiving this diagnosis marked a pivotal moment in my life. I was determined not to let it define me; instead, I chose to redefine it in my terms. I delved into the science behind ADHD, and this exploration allowed me to adopt a kinder perspective towards myself. More importantly, it enabled me to leverage the creative and problem-solving facets of my brain that are often overshadowed due to the stigma associated with ADHD. This journey of acceptance and understanding became a turning point in my life, transforming the seemingly insurmountable challenge of ADHD into an empowering discovery.

Harnessing Generative AI: Augmenting Tasks and Supporting Neurodiversity
In my exploration of artificial intelligence, I quickly became intrigued by the transformative potential of generative AI models like GPT-3. This expansive model, with its billions of parameters trained to understand linguistic patterns, opened a new world of possibilities for me. It excelled in answering questions, generating code, and facilitating natural language conversations – areas that often presented challenges due to my ADHD.

In particular, one tool that became a game-changer for me was GitHub’s AI code completion tool, Copilot. This tool leverages a powerful AI model similar to GPT-3, trained on a vast range of public code repositories. Copilot provided invaluable support during my coding activities, predicting the code I intended to write and providing real-time suggestions. It proved to be an excellent companion in navigating complex coding tasks, helping to streamline my work and improve my productivity.

“[Elle’s] passion for making STEM activities accessible and free for all is as deeply rooted as her belief in using AI to make life easier.”

Simultaneously, I found a valuable partner in ChatGPT. This advanced AI model, trained by OpenAI, became an integral tool in my problemsolving arsenal. Often, with ADHD, brainstorming sessions can lead to a whirlwind of ideas, making it challenging to structure them coherently. However, ChatGPT served as a remarkably effective tool for organising my thoughts. It helped me flesh out my ideas, refine them, and structure them logically, thus significantly aiding my problem-solving activities. The conversational nature of ChatGPT allowed for an interactive brainstorming experience, giving me insights and suggestions that often catalysed unique solutions.

The synergy of Copilot and ChatGPT was nothing short of revolutionary for me. These generative AI models didn’t just help overcome some of the obstacles posed by ADHD but also amplified my strengths. They served as a testament to the farreaching potential of AI to support and even augment cognitive diversity, marking a significant stride in my productivity and the quality of my work. Harnessing the power of these tools, I began to see challenges not as roadblocks, but as opportunities for innovation.


My newfound understanding of ADHD sparked a unique synergy between my hyperfocus periods and my data science pursuits. This confluence unearthed a multitude of opportunities, ultimately leading to the development of AI applications that not only mitigate the challenges presented by ADHD but also leverage its unique strengths. From a mind-mapping tool to an app finding relevant content, these applications represent my journey towards turning neurodiversity into a strength.

VisualLearner: AI Generated Mind Map

The first of these creations is an AI-powered mind-mapping tool. This application uses AI summarisation and code generation to convert text into mind maps, offering a supportive tool for neurodiverse readers and learners.

Throughout my apprenticeship, I faced challenges due to my ADHD, struggling with focus during video calls, journaling, and reading research papers. Realising that my brain processed information differently, I found a solution by using a large whiteboard to create mind maps and flowcharts, aiding my understanding and retention of complex information. This experience inspired me to develop an AI-powered application that automatically generates mind maps and flowcharts to support neurodiverse learners, enhancing learning efficiency and effectiveness. My personal journey with ADHD has driven me to create a tool that can help others with unique learning needs and strengths.

2Cofinder: AI Powered Semantic Search

Next in line is Cofinder, an application designed to find relevant information to answer questions related to learning content. This tool comes in handy when navigating through extensive articles, research papers, or learning materials, making the process less overwhelming and more efficient.

Cofinder is my solution to address the struggles faced by the Cohere Community, especially for individuals with ADHD, in accessing relevant content efficiently. I built this application with the vision of simplifying the process of finding specific information on the platform, recognising through my own experiences that despite Cohere’s wealth of knowledge and resources like product explanations, tutorials, open repositories, and Discord channel, locating relevant content could still be time-consuming and challenging. Leveraging text extracted from these sources, Cofinder uses Retrieval Augmented Generation methods, employing a semantic search approach, allowing users to ask natural language questions and receive the most pertinent content and context. By bringing together information from multiple sources in one place, Cofinder aims to enhance the Cohere community experience, ensuring that developers, entrepreneurs, corporations, and Data Scientists can easily find what they need, ultimately saving them valuable time and effort.

Each of these applications is a testament to the power of aligning neurodiversity with AI, creating tools that empower and inspire. Together, they encapsulate my mission to break down barriers, drive accessibility in AI, and shed light on the strengths derived from neurodiversity. Each of these creations served to empower not just me, but potentially anyone else who shares my struggles.

Empowering Neurodiversity and Advancing AI Accessibility: A Journey of Transformation

In my journey, support from the community has been invaluable. Through the Access to Work scheme, I have applied for an ADHD coach, a resource that promises to provide an accommodating environment tailored to my unique neurodiversity. However, I recognised that there was a greater need for such resources to be readily available for a wider audience.

Driven by this realisation, I took on the role of a community champion for Cohere and Databutton, striving to build applications and share tutorials that make the wonders of AI accessible to all. My aim is to break down the barriers to accessing and understanding

AI, and by doing so, help others realise and harness their unique potentials.

My journey with ADHD and AI has been transformative. Understanding my diagnosis and learning how to leverage AI to augment my work, I’ve witnessed the immense potential of combining neurodiversity and AI. It is this revelation that I now want to share with the world. Through the apps I build, my advocacy work, and the story of my journey, I hope to inspire others, showcasing that neurodiverse individuals can leverage their unique strengths to bring about exceptional results.

And as I look towards the future, my mission is clear: to continue tearing down barriers in AI accessibility and to illuminate the strengths and potentials that arise from neurodiversity.

In this journey, connection and conversation are key. I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn. Let’s discuss how we can harness AI to bring out our unique strengths, regardless of whether we are neurodiverse or not. Together, we can reshape the narrative surrounding ADHD and neurodiversity, and pave the way towards a future where everyone can tap into their unique potential.

Back to blogs
Share this:
© Data Science Talent Ltd, 2024. All Rights Reserved.