Siena Castellon is an 18-year-old advocate, author, mentor and Young Leader for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She is autistic, has dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD. After being eventually diagnosed with autism she wrote The Spectrum Girl's Survival Guide: How to Grow Up Awesome and Autistic, which is a fantastic guide for neurodiverse girls navigating a neurotypical world.
We discuss the stigma around autism in girls; how, because she was undiagnosed and consequently misunderstood by teachers and pupils alike, she was ruthlessly bullied throughout her school life and was failed by a mainstream education system that did not appreciate her learning differences. Getting a diagnosis of autism meant she wanted to support other neurodiverse girls which led her to setting up a mentoring website and writing her book.
She talks about autism as a superpower, about challenging stereotypes and we speak about how we need to support and enable those with autism to thrive in a world that is set up for people who are neurotypical. She talks about Neurodiversity Celebration Week, her conception, which has been adopted by an increasing number of schools in the UK.
Siena is an absolute trailblazer, who is having a huge impact through her work. Her views about how we view neurodiversity are important and her advice will be useful for many people.