Elliott Shaw is a 20-year-old British driver, who takes pride in his Autism and ADHD - he believes they have been the key to his success so far.
If you want to find out just how successful Elliot has been, follow the links at the bottom of this post.
Elliott currently lives in Switzerland and races for the Italian-based Ferrara Kart Racing team. Kart racing is where most Formula One and WEC drivers start their careers, and Elliott has aspirations to join them. He's certainly well on his way!
Interviewing Elliott was an absolute delight. Like many Autistic people, he is ruthlessly efficient with his words, and apart from editing out a small piece of confidential information (whoops), the below interview is the interview in it's entirety. It's beautifully succinct, and although I find a break in the pattern slightly jarring, I decided to leave out the usual 'chapter titles' to really showcase Elliott in all his authenticity!
He's a great human being, an inspiring representative of what can be achieved BECASUE of and not INSPITE of, and I'm sure he'd hugely appreciate your attention and support!
Please watch the video below, like, comment, and share. 😊
Some Key Themes
Elliott and I had more than one conversation together, and some of these themes are taken from conversations outside of the above interview...
Elliott didn't like the noise of the karts at first, and in Elliott's own words, he was "totally useless until he got used to the sound". This didn't happen until 2016, but as soon as it did, he started performing.
What does that show?
1) Preferences are changeable because experiences alter our brains (look up neuroplasticity)
2) This being said, the right pathway towards adaptation needs to be taken - it needs to be person-led and positive (dragging someone kicking and screaming is NOT positive - talking to them about motivation, breaking tasks down, and providing positive feedback is)
Social Environment Matters
Elliott loves his current team - he gets along with his teammates and wider support crew (apologies motor fans if that's the wrong terminology). Yet his ability to talk openly and honestly is in part reliant on those around him. Because they have the knowledge, capacity, and desire to interpret his alternative behaviours in a non-judgemental way, and to respond appropriately, Elliott is enabled to be himself, and to thrive. Without these prerequisites, it's likely Elliott would feel both stressed and isolated, as he has been made to feel on previous teams.
Currently, finding a neuro-inclusive sports team is pot luck, and for many, this leaves them excluded from sport and exercise entirely. If this is to change, neuro-inclusive practice must become 'the norm' in all sports clubs, teams, and organisations. Elliott is a great example of what a positive difference neuro-inclusive culture can make, and hopefully he can help prove the point - that neuro-inclusion is not a chore, it's actually the opposite.
ADHD is a challenge
Awareness of ADHD is generally a good thing. But honesty regarding the genuine challenges of living with ADHD needs to be upheld if people are to receive the understanding and support they need to overcome their challenges, and to exploit their strengths...
For Elliott, his ADHD makes life outside of sport tough. He's constantly having his attention pulled from one topic to another, and it's exhausting.
Alongside his ADHD, he experiences anxiety and infrequent mental health struggles.
It's a constant battle for him to maintain emotional equilibrium.
Racing is Elliott's way of maintaining this equilibrium and focusing his attention, energy, and emotions.
Elliott, like so many with Autism and ADHD, lives life on a knife edge between being a highly capable, and highly successful thrill seeker, and... the polar opposite.
If you enjoyed this blog post, feel free to leave a comment! 😊
If you would like to find out more about Elliott, please visit:
Or follow @elliott_shaw_racing on Instagram