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EMBRACING NEURODIVERSITY: MY JOURNEY WITH ADHD AND HOW GENERATIVE AI PROPELLED MY CAREER IN DATA SCIENCE BY ELLE NEAL

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.

To find out more about Elle’s work with AI for accessibility, read the article in full over on our magazine:

https://issuu.com/datasciencetalent/docs/the_data_scientist_mag_issue_4_final/s/

 

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