Neurodiversity is something to be celebrated every day of the year, but a week-long campaign to highlight the value of neurodiversity, and the challenges that many face, is absolutely welcomed. This week (15 – 21 March 2021), Neurodiversiry Celebration Week is calling for special educational needs (SEN) children to be empowered to flourish, and for “a more inclusive educational landscape so that SEN students have equal access to education”. Now that’s something we’re proud to get behind.
We will be calling for our brilliant community of occupational therapists, parents, healthcare professionals and educators to share their advice of celebrating neurodiversity over on Facebook and Instagram – so make sure you join the conversation there. In the meantime, though, we’ve pulled together five ways that people from all walks of life can celebrate neurodiversity.
1. Understand neurodiversity and enable achievement
To be able to fully celebrate neurodiversity, it’s critical that we begin by learning more about it. There’s a wealth of information available online, and for free, to help people from all backgrounds understand more about neurodiversity and the complex range of special educational needs that lie within it.
Learning Disability Today has a ‘beginner’s guide to neurodiversity’ with some useful further reading. We love the comic book from Neurodiversity Celebration Week – it’s a great visual way to learn more about neurodiversity, the achievements and diversity of those with neurodiversity.
We’ve also compiled our own resources for parents and caregivers of those with a sensory processing disorder.
With a better understanding of neurodiversity it’s undoubtable that we’ll be better equipped to enable achievements for those with special educational needs. We’ll all understand how to better enhance experiences with the world, enable learning (and understand how the neurodiverse might learn differently) and provide support that makes a real, positive difference.
2. Get to know the story behind some of our favourite famous faces
Learning more about successful, neurodivergent people in all walks of life is a fantastic way to celebrate achievements, learn more about real life experiences of neurodivergent individuals and help young people to recognise their potential too. Some famous people who are understood to be neurodivergent are Albert Einstein, Richard Branson and Bill Gates. But did you also know that singers Florence Welch (from Florence and the Machine) and Billie Eilish have also spoken about their neurodiversity? The list goes on: Solange Knowles, Cara Delevingne, and Greta Thunberg.
A presentation from Neurodiversity Celebration Week features some more names and faces you might recognise.
3. Discover new and different ways of learning
According to the ADHD Foundation, two out of five neurodiverse children with dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADHD and Autism in the UK leave secondary education at 16 never having had their learning difficulty identified. Thankfully, movements are being made to change this, but it goes to show diagnosis could lead to understanding and in turn where adapted learning could have made a huge difference to children throughout their school education.
Enabling children to learn is critical, and that may mean incorporating new teaching methods or making adjustments – whether that’s with self-help strategies, utilising technology or structuring work and assignments differently to support learning and achievement. Sensory integration is of course something that many schools, healthcare professionals and families explore too!
4. Champion aspirations
To champion someone’s aspirations it’s really important to learn how someone is experiencing the world. Celebrate neurodiversity by really getting to know a neurodivergent young person, so you can be a champion for their aspirations – because you’ll be able to support them as they navigate the world. The ADHD Foundation has a great piece looking at how we can all achieve this.
5. Make a pledge
Last, but by certainly no means least, celebrate neurodiversity by supporting the project behind this awareness week. Make a pledge on the Neurodiversity Celebration Week website – whether you’re an individual or a business.
Undoubtedly our list could go well beyond just five points! So please do take the time to explore the brilliant Neurodiversity Celebration Week website, with lots more ways to celebrate neurodiversity – whether you’re a family member of someone with SEN, an educator or a business leader. We’ll also be collating the tips and advice our brilliant community share over on social media, so make sure you join us on Facebook and Instagram too.