As part of our series of blogs to celebrate UK Disability History Month, we caught up with Kim To – an LSE graduate who also happens to have ADHD, dyslexia and Asperger’s. Read on for Kim’s experiences of being disabled at university and in the workplace…
Tell us a bit about your career journey so far…
I spent two years in management consulting and then two and a half years in equity research. My job choices were somewhat related to my degree (BSc Economic history 2015 and MSc Population and development 2018) but not directly related. I chose management consulting to start out since I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and I thought management consulting would be a good start to figure out what I liked. My choice to go into finance was because I developed a strong interest in developing countries and I wanted to be more involved with investing in the region. I used LSE Careers much more as a master’s student than as a bachelor’s student, and I specifically found the disability support most helpful. I took part in the Disabled Students Mentoring Programme which helped me access a community of people and advice on what to think about when applying to jobs with a ‘hidden’ disability.
What one thing do you wish your current or former colleagues understood about your disability/being disabled or having a long-term condition?
ADHD is not an attention problem; it impacts my ability to decide when to focus and has implications for my emotional control. I wish I knew my colleagues knew that I came into work everyday with little accommodations and tried my damn hardest. I wish they knew that with accommodations, support and awareness, I could have felt welcome and thrived.
What advice might you give yourself as a student, with the experiences you’ve now had?
Remember the social model of disability states that it is society, the lack of awareness, organisations and environment that disables us. Our “disability” only exists because organisations and institutions do not accommodate. Learn to advocate for yourself, believe in your right to have a fair chance at everything in life and and have hope.
How can we at LSE continually work to better support students and graduates living with disabilities in Careers and beyond?
- More awareness on campus about disability and signposting on where to get help for certain services.
- More availability for careers appointments with specially-trained careers consultants who know about disability.
- Training members of staff about awareness of disability and especially ‘invisible’ ones.
- Encourage grass-root representation from people who are disabled (visible and non-visible) so they can have budget and support to run events that would help their community.
Kim is now an ADHD coach and working on a tech platform to make ADHD coaching inclusive and accessible – www.ownyourflair.com