"The Call for Neurodiversity" - Understanding Autism

Ultra-enthusiastic TEDx speaker and multi-award winning author, Jolene Stockman, gives us a rare view into the world of Autism. Diagnosed as an adult, Jolene has achieved things that this so-called invisible disability has deemed impossible. A Master of Neuro Linguistic Programming, Jolene is revolutionizing perceptions and encouraging respect for human neurological variation.

“I tell the world that being wired-up differently is not only okay, it’s maybe even amazing!”

- Jolene Stockman

"The Māori word for Autism – takiwātanga means in his or her own time and space."

Jolene Stockman is an author, speaker, and New Zealand Māori (tangata whenua o Aotearoa). She is also Autistic. Without knowing it, she has achieved things that this so-called invisible disability considers challenging at best, impossible at worst. She is one of the youngest in the world to achieve the Distinguished Toastmaster award for public speaking and leadership.

In 2018, Jolene made the courageous decision to go public with her diagnosis. She delivered a TEDx Talk that resulted in nationwide interest and exposure. Jolene is excited to speak to audiences in health, education, and childcare to break myths and stereotypes around Autism, and to share what Autistics already know: we have challenges, but many of our strengths are actually superpowers.

“When my lack of confidence threatened my dreams, I took action and changed my life! I know what it takes to think big, jump in, and create a dream world. Now I want to help you do it, too!”

“Jolene is a Trustee on the board of innovative New Zealand not-for-profit, Autism Connex, and an Advisor for national organisation Altogether Autism. She is proud to continue to raise understanding, and more importantly, optimism around Autism.”

She is also a Master of Neuro Linguistic Programming, which is the study of communication and human behaviour, meaning how we interpret language to design our lives.

“I love learning about how brain works and how we can use it to make our world more fun and effective! It’s a journey. Getting the diagnosis, learning the traits, adjusting to the new world. But it’s beautiful. It connects you to who you really are. Don’t go looking for the ways that being Autistic makes you wrong or different, go looking to understand more about who you are and what works for you in the world!”

Feeling deeply responsible to make a difference for the little ones who follow after her, she works tirelessly to dispel misconceptions and to shine a light on a new way of seeing an Autism diagnosis. Her goals are to, acknowledge and accept Autism as an opportunity rather than a weakness, show children that it is okay to feel good about yourself, create positivity for parents of newly diagnosed children, and join the call for neurodiversity.

“I’m Jolene, a fast-talking film fan that loves fizzy drinks and shiny things. I was the shy kid. I couldn’t speak but I read a lot, and plotted my world take over by torchlight.”