Neurodiversity education

Our passion, purpose, people and perspectives

DivergenThinking was born out of a desire to help people to ‘get’ themselves better, so they could better support themselves and others to thrive.

Our founders both have strong neurodiverse traits as do their family members. Their journey towards DivergenThinking if full of tears, uncertainty, despair, challenge, resolve, hope, joy and laughter. DivergenThinking is not just any organisation, it’s a vocation.

DivergenThinking is a vehicle for positive, meaningful, and permanent change – not only for those with strong neurodiverse traits themselves but for everyone (we are all neurodiverse), and for those who support and love them. It is fuelled by deep personal understanding of the realities of the neurodiverse trying to function in a world structured, for the most part, by neurotypical thinking for neurotypical thinkers.

The divergent ‘Duo’:

Anton is our lead neuroscience and psychology expert.

With 27 years of experience as a forensic, clinical and corporate psychologist, Anton has worked with neurodiverse adolescents and adults in the corporate and prison space. Anton has developed and facilitated change programmes for prisoners, senior leaders, psychologists, trainers and other mental health professionals.
Anton now works as a consultant with Natasya co-creating programmes with his extensive forensic and clinical experience.

Anton AshcroftBSc, MSc, MBPS, MDFP, CPsychol

Co-founder

Natasya is our learning and development expert.

With over 18 years in the private sector, from skill’s development to policy implementation, Natasya has lived experience of neurodiversity having herself been diagnosed with ADHD January 2019 and has an autistic son with ADHD.

In 2016 she set a 10-year goal to educate New Zealand about autism. Through the evolution of the organisation Natasya’s goal has developed to include being a leader of equity and inclusion for the neurodiversity movement in New Zealand.

Natasya develops programmes with Anton, while also providing the executive leadership, recruiting the team, lead generation, and heads the client relations and customer-facing functions of DivergenThinking.

Natasya TuckerGrad Dip BBus(Hons) ICC and PEERS accredited

Co-founder

Our divergent team…

Kenny brings 20 years of invaluable experience with the New Zealand Defence Force and Royal New Zealand Navy. He provides great oversight, calm, reasoning and rhythm to the DivergenThinking leadership team. Kenny is also an accredited coach and facilitator.

Kenny BhosaleEMBA, ACC, MSc, ICF

Business Partner

Mark bring 25 years of experience producing, creative direction, animation, design, education and visual storytelling. As Head of Visual Branding, Learning and Design, Mark leads the development of DivergenThinking’s visual presence through our website and the translation of the Getting GOT series of workshops into engaging e-Learning courses.

Mark Saunders

Head of Visual Branding and Learning & Design

Sonya brings a combination of passion, skills, energy, enthusiasm and personality to the team that ensures DivergenThinking’s workshops and blended learning offerings are something very special.

She is an experienced multi-industry learning designer, consultant and facilitator.

Sonya Ludlam

Learning Designer

Over the decades Dwight has been a writer, editor, and contributor to a wide range of national and international publications and platforms, particularly magazines.

Dwight’s passion to help people age young and well, focuses on belonging, resilience, leading to hope and happiness.

He is also one of the founders of the Anti-Bullying Centre Line in the Sand initiative and is a regular media commentator on the subject of bullying.

Dwight WhitneyBA, MA

Writer and Content Advisor

Katie Morrissey BBus, DipBus

Financial Administrator and Projects Coordinator

Katie has been working in financial administration since 2004 and brings a range of experience from chartered accountancy to first-hand experience with New Zealand’s largest food retailer. She’s also a Xero guru. Katie is a passionate ‘bottom left’ thinker and runs a tight ship with huge energy and enthusiasm.

Katie MorrisseyBBus, DipBus

Financial Administrator & Projects Coordinator

Along with a talented and passionate support staff, DivergenThinking is ready to help New Zealanders enjoy the many benefits of moving towards a neurodiverse inclusive society.

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Natasya's Story

The personal and professional sides of discovering neurodiversity

There are moments of time, space, place and circumstance when — unexpected — life changes. Not in a small way but in a very ‘big deal’ fashion.

Mine came in 2014 when I discovered my eldest son is, autistic and has ADHD. These were labels I had some inkling of in meaning and implications but that didn’t take away any of the difficulties and challenges that hit home. Not just in getting a diagnosis but in accessing the support and help he, I and the family needed.

READ MORE…

Very quickly I drowned in the struggles so many individuals and families with similar challenges face; however I like many kept quiet, as sadly the stigma was and still is huge. Once the clouds lifted, my eyes were open to isolation the stigma creates and the insanity of that reality. On the one hand we were all together. On the other we felt very much alone. Once we found some sort of support and my son was able to ‘fit’, not a word I like into society and the schooling system, I then worked on my own mental health and wellbeing, I made my commitment to use my skills to support others on their own neurodiverse journeys. All of this might make it sound like the energies and efforts happened rationally and objectively. The reality was anything but. For the first couple of years my focus and efforts were solely on my son. The intensity of this was such that I ended up with depression and totally depleted of energy. I realised my own wellbeing was a scarce and valuable resource necessary for caring and supporting my family.

To be effective I realised I would need a wealth of help, support, information, guidance and understanding.

The revelations and realisations moved me into taking action for myself and those I was now committed to help.

I had a bit of a head start having worked in Learning and Development primarily in the corporate space. In 2016 I further articulated my goal to educate New Zealand on what was now evolving into the wider arena of neurodiversity. As well as efforts on the ground in New Zealand I undertook graduate study at the University of California Los Angeles and was accredited to run PEERS—a social skills programme to help neurodiverse individuals build their social skills.

After this I teamed up with psychologist Anton Ashcroft who had experience across the spectrum in forensic and clinical psychology.

Anton noted a fascinating overlap with the prison inmates he worked with and in the corporate space where he was helping both understand how their brains worked. When we met, he realised I was working on the missing ‘link’ in his work. Our collaboration led to us further exploring why people behaved the way they did. The evidence all pointed towards brain wiring. This is our point of difference. We teach how the brain works because when we understand how our brains work and why we do the things we do, then we can make conscious choices, plus this is Mental Health and Wellbeing 101. We also gained fascinating insights into people not ‘getting’ themselves and how this lack of awareness of their own strengths and challenges resulted in a propensity to self-sabotage.

Correcting these imbalances became a focal point of our work and our first training series Getting GOT.

DivergenThinking was born out of a need for answers, a deep desire to help those on their own neurodiverse journeys and a vocation to drive positive and lasting change. We want to challenge the way we all understand and value neurodiversity and unlock the massive benefits that exist for everyone.

The neurodiversity movement has finally reached New Zealand and DivergenThinking is both proud and humbled to play its part in leading the charge for change.

Like to help?

We are always on the look out for other ways we can spread our message. If you think you can help, please get in touch.