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Neurodiversity Celebration Week is a worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences. It aims to transform how neurodivergent individuals are perceived and supported by providing schools, universities, and organisations with the opportunity to recognise the many talents and advantages of being neurodivergent, while creating more inclusive and equitable cultures that celebrate differences and empower every individual.
The founder, Siena Castellon states:
“I founded Neurodiversity Celebration Week in 2018 because I wanted to change the way learning differences are perceived. As a teenager who is autistic and has ADHD, dyslexia, and dyspraxia, my experience has been that people often focus on the challenges of neurological diversity. I wanted to change the narrative and create a balanced view which focuses equally on our talents and strengths.”
Neurodiversity is a term that has been around for a while and is used to refer to differences in the way an individuals brain works without attaching negativity or positivity to it, simply identifying that there is a difference. When people use the term neurodiversity or neurodivergent it could be in reference to a wide range of discrete (and often overlapping) differences with labels such as Dyslexia, ADHD, Autistic Spectrum Condition to name just a few.
Neurodiversity, as a concept, presumes that such conditions are not “abnormal” but just different. This viewpoint takes into account the many benefits to individuals and society of brains which work differently and produce original thoughts. So having a brain that works differently is not necessarily good, it’s not necessarily bad, it’s just different and sometimes being different is good. for example, Leonardo da Vinci was different, as was Mohamad Ali and Richard Branson has done things differently and it’s worked out fairly well for him; the list of noteworthy proven or supposed neurodiverse individuals is very long indeed.
Neurodiversity is not just a politically correct term or “rebranding”. It has a basis in science where numerous brain imaging studies have shown that the brains of those who have a learning difference actually work in different ways. So all of us are unique individuals and our brains are all unique, some are just a bit more different than others. So let’s celebrate our differences and all the advantages they bring!
So how can you get involved? Well, for a start you can register your school to show you plan to join the 1000+ schools around the world already participating.
Don’t forget to share how your school are celebrating neurodiversity on social media with the hashtags #NeurodiversityCelebrationWeek #NeurodiversityCW and don’t forget to tag the IncludED accounts so we can share it on Twitter and Facebook.
The Neurodiversity Celebration Week website has a whole host of great resources which you can use to help improve understanding and celebrate neurodiversity. We have included links to some of the best, as well as some others from LGfL and other organisations.
The Neurodiversity Awareness Week website – collections of posters, videos, fact sheets on a wide range of neurodiversity. From the “Schools” tab in the navigation you will see a drop-down list of Powerpoints/Activities/Posters/Videos and Resources.
ADHD Foundation – lots of fact sheets, posters and other resources for schools and parents.
National Autistic Society – free resources including videos, downloads and animations for Early Years, primary schools and secondary schools.
Neurodiversity Celebration Week is a great event to support for two main reasons:
This blog has been edited from a previous blog posted in 2021.