Information for parents and safeguarding advice
Profile: Molly Mead, Bedfordshire

Profile: Molly Mead, Bedfordshire

Neurodiversity Celebration Week took place from 18-24 March 2024 to help raise awareness of neurodiversity. Molly Mead from Leighton Buzzard YFC in Bedfordshire helped NFYFC get involved in the week by sharing more information about neurodiversity. Molly shares her experiences in our mini Q&A.

What is Neurodiversity?

Molly: It refers to the ways our brains are wired completely differently. No two people are the same. Neurodivergent is an umbrella term for different neuro types such as ADHD, OCD, Tourettes, Sensory Processing Disorder, Dyslexia… there’s a whole different list of neurotypes that make us different to the ‘normal’ neuro-typical person.

Can you tell us about your neurodiversity?

Molly: I’m autistic and ADHD and this has shown up in a range of different ways in my life. Fortunately I have always been able to be part of the farming sector working in a variety of roles and also an active member of my Young Farmers’ Club.

What activities do you enjoy in YFC?

Molly: Competitions are a fantastic way for people who are may be a bit more nervous socially to get involved, as neurodivergent people can be. It’s certainly what worked for me.

I have taken part in loads of competitions, such as cookery, where I nearly set a barn on fire, to sports. I’m not a natural sports woman but you just give it a go because it’s in the spirit of things.

Public Speaking can be more challenging for neurodivergent people. I know other autistic people who might find it challenging. I am quite comfortable with it and doing Public Speaking with YFC has helped me become more confident but I know that’s not the case for everyone.

What tips do you have for YFCs about neurodiversity?

Molly: Some things that are really important when you’re hosting a YFC meeting are:

  1. If you see someone stood on their own go and talk to them. I’ve been there and it’s not a nice feeling and it’s hard to keep turning up if you feel isolated. Go say hello and look after them – it’s the most important thing you can do.
  2. If someone tells you they are struggling with something, for example Public Speaking, or they’re struggling socially, thank them for telling you and look out for them. Work around the problem and see what competitions would be better suited to them. YFC is about people having fun and they shouldn’t be worried about something. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses – you’re a team so there should be something everyone can get involved in.
  3. Don’t ever mock someone for their differences. Just because you think it’s funny, it might not be to others. The damage you can have on someone’s mental health through a comment made in person or online (in group chats or on social media) – can be catastrophic so just be nice and think about what you’re saying.

What do you think about NFYFC’s work on inclusion?

Molly: I’m really pleased that NFYFC is championing inclusion and getting the message out that YFC is for everyone. It’s essential we welcome everyone, and that YFC is a community where we can support each other and make everyone feel welcome and part of the team.

For more information on supporting YFC members with additional needs, check out the NFYFC's Support Guide.