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Discussing ADHD with Alannah, Continuous Improvement Practitioner at OVO

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We caught up with Alannah from OVO who kindly shares with us her personal experience of ADHD.

1. Could you tell me a bit about yourself?

My name is Alannah (pronouns: she/her) and I’m a Continuous Improvement Practitioner within OVO’s Operational Excellence department. I was diagnosed with combined-type ADHD last year, which subsequently led me to joining our Neurodiversity Network.

2. What is it like to have ADHD?

Previously to my diagnosis, having ADHD often felt like I was constantly playing a video game on the highest difficulty, but I felt pressured to make it look easy and never acknowledge that I was struggling.

Nowadays, I still sometimes struggle with aspects of my day-to-day life, but overall it’s much less challenging. Part of what helps me is my medication, which the research shows makes the biggest difference for most people with ADHD. However, I also find systems like Recite Me to be very helpful in making my life that little bit easier.

3. How does ADHD affect your life?

In all honesty ADHD has its pros and cons (and everyone with ADHD is different). Under the right conditions, my ADHD is the competitive edge that gives me the enthusiasm and focus to achieve my goals at pace in and outside of work. Conversely, sometimes my ADHD is the invisible boulder that prevents me from remembering the plans I’ve made and distracts me from the things that I should be doing.

4. Why do you think it is important to provide accessibility support online?

Accessibility needs to be designed with every aspect of life in mind. Increasingly the majority of our lives are now managed online, so it’s incredibly important that accessibility is inclusively implemented in all online platforms.

5. How does the Recite Me toolbar support you?

A lot of platforms are highly saturated with lots of content, which can make it challenging to take in what you’re trying to read. I like to use the Screen Mask function to focus on the specific area of the screen that I’m looking at, and scroll down as-and-when required.

6. Are there times you feel like your online experience could be improved by having access to assistive technology?

Definitely, nearly every day I find myself thinking of ways that technology and processes could be improved from a user experience perspective. I typically use subtitles when I’m watching tv shows or movies. Occasionally, someone has mentioned that they find the subtitles a bit distracting, but sometimes they later mention that they’ve come to find subtitles helpful. I think that a good litmus test for assistive technology is that it should be deemed easy to use by the people who need it the most. It’s a great bonus if people who weren’t consciously your intended users find it helpful too.

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