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Meeting with Neurodivergent Hero: Dr. Ty "The NeuroGuy" McKinney

Unlock Your Potential with Neurodivergence


Acknowledging neurodivergence month with Dr. Ty "The NeuroGuy"

McKinney, we delved into his experiences and insights as a neurodivergent

individual thriving in the tech sector. Dr. McKinney, who completed his

Ph.D. at the University of Utah with a focus on tech-enabled brain health

assessment, is the Co-Founder of 8 Bit Cortex, a company dedicated to

creating accessible and affordable mental wellness tools for the workplace

and addiction recovery programs. His journey from discovering his

neurodivergence to building his self-care mechanisms offers valuable

lessons for anyone navigating similar paths.




The Aspect of Wearing Multiple Hats


In the tech industry, problem-solving and innovative thinking are crucial. Ty highlighted that his neurodivergent traits, such as enjoying complex problems and thinking outside the box,

naturally led him to entrepreneurship. As a big-picture thinker and problem solver, he

underscored the importance of adaptability and understanding one’s strengths within team

dynamics. Communication and organization often occur remotely, requiring diverse strategies for both introverted and extroverted team members. Ty’s ability to juggle various roles and discover creative solutions has been instrumental in his journey as a co-founder of 8 Bit Cortex.


Navigating Social Life with Neurodivergence


Understanding oneself is fundamental for neurodivergent individuals. Ty emphasized that

neurodivergence manifests differently in each person. He built a personalized system to function optimally, grounded in a remote working environment. During his academic years, Ty enhanced his patience through programming, embracing challenges that pushed him out of his comfort zone. This self-training, combined with a belief in his inner potential, allowed him to become more aware of his limitations and boundaries.


Ty shared strategies for navigating networking events, particularly for those who are more

introverted. He advised being mindful of personal limitations and boundaries, finding

comfortable ways to engage in social settings, and practicing social skills. Mistakes are a

natural part of the learning process, and it's important to learn from them. Ty acknowledged that neurotypical environments might be challenging for those with autistic individuals, but finding unique ways to connect with people is key.


Building a Healthy Cycle for Self-Care


Dr. McKinney possesses a deep knowledge of human functioning and the importance of

balance between work and rest. He discovered that pushing himself too hard was counterproductive. Instead, he focused on creating a healthy cycle of positive stress and relaxation. Developing a routine, such as consistent waking and sleeping times, helped him improve his well-being. Bite-sized tasks minimized strict rules, and techniques like body doubling provided external accountability and connection with team members.


Creating Accessible Mental Wellness Tools


As the Co-Founder of 8 Bit Cortex, Ty applies his expertise to develop flexible and personalized mental health support tools. Though his experience as the Research Director of Branch Out Neurological Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on neurodiversity and mental health technology, Ty was inspired by community-based entrepreneurship. His background in cognitive neuroscience and understanding of diverse user perspectives shape the company's approach to collaborating with the community as a means to market validate products and services while providing access to new resources.


Advice for Neurodivergent Individuals


Ty’s journey underscores the importance of self-discovery and acceptance. He shared that

embracing change and accepting oneself is an ongoing process. Knowing your strengths and anticipating challenges can be validating and empowering. Valuing natural personality traits can be a game-changer in career paths. Seeking feedback and staying open-minded can unlock potential and foster growth. Additionally, having a supportive community can significantly aid in personal and professional development.


Dr. Ty "The NeuroGuy" McKinney's story is a testament to the power of embracing

neurodivergence. His insights offer a roadmap for others to navigate unique journeys, balancing boundaries while continually challenging themselves.



Author:

Seonyoung Chloe Jang:

She is dedicated to promoting digital literacy through her writing, fuelled by a passion for leveraging technology to create positive social impact and bridging the digital divide.


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