Our Founder & CEO
Hi, I'm Kaydi...
I'm 17 and I was diagnosed autistic in 2019 and ADHD in 2021. I have had to home learn for over 4 years because highschool has been very hard for me. I have had three different placements but none of them understood my needs and caused me a lot of distress.
In 2021 when I was 14, I set up Diversified because I wanted to tackle the isolation that often comes with being autistic. Whether I was in school or at home, I felt really alone and I didn't want anyone else to feel how I felt. Thanks to initial funding from Unltd and money I'd raised on my website selling fidget toys, I was able to set up the Together Project, supporting other autistic young people and their families by creating dedicated social opportunities. That year I went on to win the Leader's List 2021.
In 2022, Diversified was granted charitable status and I became one of the youngest autistic CEO's of a charity in the UK, at only 15 years old. I worked really hard to support, advocate and create change for my neurodivergent youth community and I won the Bright Future Prize 2022. Alongside the prize money, I secured funding from The National Lottery and UnLtd. allowing me to set up the very first autistic designed and run dedicated youth facilities in Scotland.
Our hub provides a dedicated safe space where autistic young people can be authentically themselves, feel understood and be supported in ways that work for them. Using our lived experience, we have been able to provide a neurodivergent friendly environment and individualised support to give the young people we support the opportunity to thrive, rather than just "survive".
Throughout my time running Diversified, and using my own negative experiences of the school system, I developed Aspire, the first neurodivergent led service supporting autistic young people struggling to attend school. Opening in January 2023, Aspire provides wellbeing, mental health and learning support to autistic young people who have not managed to attend school for a considerable amount of time. Aspire is an 'outside the box' approach that gives autistic young people the opportunity to reset, find their feet and re-engage with their education, however that may look for them.
In 2023, I celebrated winning the Cash For Kids award at the Forth Awards and the Young Person of the Year award at the Autism Hero Awards in London. In June 2023, Diversified went on to win the prestigious Charity of the Year award at the Scottish Charity Awards, firmly putting our charity on the map for providing successul and innovative services to support our autistic youth community.
At the start of 2024, I received a letter and Points of Light award from the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, in recognition of the work I was doing with Diversified to support our autistic and neurodivergent youth community.
Being a youth led organisation it matters to us what young people want and need. Young people are capable of incredible things if given the opportunity and I hope my story inspires others to create positive change in their communities too!
Thank you for following my journey!