How I Learned I am Neurodivergent

Karla, a neurodivergent female IBMer

Hello, my name is Karla, and I have been at IBM for 9 years, on the technology campus of Guadalajara, Mexico. Throughout my time as an IBMer, I’ve had the opportunity to grow my career in a variety of roles. I’ve been part of the Asset Management team, part of the Marketing area as Event Manager and then as Content Manager, and for the last year, been part of the CIO’s Treasury Access Management team.

I’ve known that I am autistic for almost three years now, living 36 years of my life without even realizing it. What led me to discover this was a talk organized by one of the neurodiversity Business Resource Groups (BRGs) at IBM, in which an inspiring IBMer shared her experience about being autistic in adulthood.

All throughout my life, I’ve always felt different from other people. Although all the characteristics and traits were always right in front of me, it wasn’t until I heard this talk about someone else’s experience that was so similar to mine, that being autistic became a possibility for me.

I ended up reaching out to the speaker to talk more, and from that moment on, a path began where I dedicated hours, days, and weeks to research and learn about autism. This ultimately led to being formally diagnosed.

I don’t know how to describe the overwhelming relief I felt, as well as the validation, and a weight lifted off my chest. I grew up hearing that I was lazy, rude, unfriendly, exaggerated, and many other negative things, but I knew in my heart I was not any of those. And now I know for that entire time I was autistic.

Some people say there are no coincidences in life. Shortly after I learned about this, I received an email at work requesting volunteers for the Neurodiversity BRG in Mexico that was about to open. I jumped at the opportunity to help, and I’ve been a volunteer since it was created. Last year, I was the co-leader, and since the beginning of this year, I’ve been the co-leader of the global BRG for Neurodiversity.


Karla, a neurodivergent female IBMer


Being part of the Neurodiversity BRG at IBM allows me to do my part to raise awareness and inform others not only about autism, but also about other neurodivergences that people experience. This has allowed me to discover a sense of belonging within the neurodivergent community, inside and outside of IBM, that I never thought I could find.

Neurodiversity is a very new topic, especially in Latin American countries, but I hope that little by little, we can create more and more work and public spaces, where first-person experiences can be heard, that are more respectful and inclusive for neurodivergent people.




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