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Not So Typical

Length - 06:03
Published - Apr 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

A short film following the experiences of two young women’s neurodivergence (Autism and ADHD) and the difficulties they encountered in the education system as they journeyed to understand themselves. This documentary highlights the issues surrounding diagnosis for women and girls in the UK and was created in partnership with the BFI during the BFI documentary residential 2024.

Not So Typical

S1 00:00:03:12

As a kid, I didn't really realise that I thought differently and I felt

differently. I just felt like a bit of an outsider at times, and I felt

like I didn't fully have control in how I was behaving and how I

was feeling as much as other people did.

S2 00:00:23:19

I had so many friendship issues in school. Um, primary school

and secondary school specifically because I wasn't diagnosed, I

ended up calling myself a nomad friend. I would move from

group to group. I actually struggled really badly with bullying.

That period of my life of just being like, I can't change who I am

and you're bullying me for it. I got really upset.

S1 00:00:45:06

I remember always feeling like I couldn't settle into a group in

school. I got bullied quite badly through like year 7 to year 9 and

that was all surrounding, like how I was like, and I never really

fully understood it. But people were just always like, you're too

much like you're too loud. You're too intense. If I didn't do my

homework, it was because I was lazy or my attendance was really

low because I couldn't be bothered to come into school kind of

thing. Whereas there was actually like an issue that was going on

that was just completely undetected. I was diagnosed with ADHD

at 17 years old. I think when it came to getting my diagnosis, it

took quite a long time. There's always waiting lists. I started

looking into getting the diagnosis at around 15, and I didn't

actually get my formal diagnosis and assessment until I was 17.

Clip: bfi_doc_2024_not_so_typical (Original).mp4

2 / 3

S2 00:01:45:14

I was diagnosed with autism when I was 16, a month before my

17th birthday. My brother's diagnosis was the spurring point of

mine. Girls are diagnosed later than boys, especially with autism

and a lot of medical conditions. When they first did the research

on the topic, they only did it on white boys. They only use them

as their subject, and so their symptoms, in a way, are the ones

that they look for.

S1 00:02:13:13

I actually don't really know how I got through school with it

being undetected by teachers, because I think, to be honest, like

when I look back, I was quite textbook ADHD. I am someone that

can't sit still. I've always been fidgety. There's a lot of issues with

concentration. I've just felt very misunderstood at school and feel

like when you're not made for the society that we live in, you are

isolated within such a massive group of people and it can feel like

so detrimental to like your mental health. When I think about it,

it makes me feel really sorry for that girl, because at the time I

was only like, you know, 14, 15 and when you feel like you don't

fit into like society, like society was not built for you, you like, you

have no other place to go.

S2 00:03:12:02

Primary school. I used to cry in a corner when I was

overwhelmed, and it was a corner because no one could come

behind me. I was safe, no one could touch me. I was there, but it

was a lot of almost loneliness. At secondary school I just hated

the noise. It was always really loud and so I liked to sit outside,

even if it was raining, because it's not noisy outside.

S1 00:03:36:15

When I actually got my diagnosis. I remember speaking to my

mother was being like, it's crazy that that was never suggested to

us. I got tested for bipolar, I got tested for all sorts of things, but

they never even thought about it.

Clip: bfi_doc_2024_not_so_typical (Original).mp4

3 / 3

S2 00:03:50:21

I find with a lot of people I've spoken to, they're like, oh, they

said I had borderline personality disorder. They said I had

bipolar. Um, and they get all these misdiagnoses because

everything had been done for men. Why aren't we talking about

something that half the population of the world goes through or

will go through in their life?

S1 00:04:10:20

I think when it comes to women, there is a lot of issues when it

comes to getting diagnosed because women's ADHD can

manifest in such a different way. I think because women in

general kind of have to put on a facade anyway. We're used to

performing. That's constantly what I've been doing my whole life.

When I was a child, I was always told I was bossy. So then I think

I then internalised that and I was like, I can't be that because

people don't like bossy women. So yeah, I definitely tried to be

something I wasn't, but then that made it so that I was just

struggling inside. Whereas now, like I viewed the world just

completely differently after I got my diagnosis.

S2 00:04:53:06

My diagnosis did empower me. It kind of gave me a reason, and

with a reason I could go about doing the things I wanted to do. It

definitely gave me freedom, and I feel like I found empowerment

in the freedom.

S1 00:05:05:13

I'm so much healthier with my mind. I'll take up however much

space I need.