Diversified was founded by Kaydi when she was 14 years old. Having being recently diagnosed with Autism and not had the support she needed, she did not want other young people to struggle in the same way she had with social isolation. Now 16, Kaydi is running a dynamic and successful neurodivergent led charity which helps hundreds of people. As well as running a range of social groups, the charity sells sensory toys online at reasonable prices to increase accessibility and raise funds, has a young persons board, trains youth mentors, and advocates for change so that the education system can better help neurodivergent people.
Kaydi is autistic but wasn’t diagnosed until she was 13, by which time she was already unable to attend high school due to the school not understanding her needs. She subsequently suffered significant mental health difficulties and crippling isolation, but despite this and having no high school education, she was determined to use her negative experiences to create change for autistic and neurodivergent young people in her community.
Kaydi started out by selling sensory toys on her website with the aim of making them accessible for other neurodivergent people after they had helped her, but also to raise some funds for charity. The success of this lead to Kaydi then setting up her own community group.
Kaydi, now 16, through Diversified has supported hundreds of neurodivergent young people. The charity today provides a range of engaging activities and social opportunities where autistic and neurodivergent young people can thrive, have fun and engage in ways that work for them. They run social groups, outings and events, as well as wider family support for parents and carers to embrace neurodivergence and build better understanding and stronger relationships with their young people.
They also provide training and skill building opportunities for those 16+ to become youth mentors supporting other young people in their groups, and have a youth board which keeps young people at the core of the organisation to steer and shape how they operate and the services they provide.
Diversified is the only neurodivergent led charity in Scotland that supports autistic and neurodivergent young people. Through their lived experience they are in the best position to support, advocate for and empower neurodivergent young people to be authentically themselves.
Having run their groups through rented spaces, the charity have recently moved into their own dedicated space. This, combined with extra funding from the Matthew Good Foundation can help them to extend their reach, create more groups and activities, and buy additional supplies and equipment for their centre, particularly sensory equipment that young people rely on to regulate and feel safe and calm at groups.