Autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia to name but a few. They’re all conditions we’ve heard of, but there’s now a word to describe them all.
‘Neurodiversity’ refers to the different ways the brain can work and interpret information.
According to the Department of Education, 15% of students in the UK have a what’s called ‘learning difference’, and now a 16-year old girl wants to honour them all – with the creation of ‘Neurodiversity Celebration Week’.
Many neurodivergent adults look back on their school days in a negative light. They spent much of their time at school feeling embarrassed and humiliated. Speaking to ITV News, Siena Castellon says often students with neurodiversities are made to feel like failures.
She says their ability to fulfil their potential is threatened by the stigma associated with having an educational need, and the misconceptions many people still have about those with a learning difference.
Siena is on a mission to break down those barriers.
She’s set up a website dedicated to the inaugural week, and so far almost 300 schools across the UK have pledged their support.
They will either organise lessons to educate the wider student population about Neurodiversity, or will hang up posters around their schools to raise awareness.
The idea for the week came up after Siena found comfort in Anti-Bullying Week. She’d been bullied at school for having a number of learning differences.
Just like the national Anti-Bullying Week, she wanted Neurodiversity to have the same platform.
Being neurodivergent includes having ADHD, Autism and Dyslexia and more.
All forms of neurodivergence bring strengths as well as difficulties. The creation of this week hopes to celebrate those strengths.
“In order to help us to flourish, I believe schools should stop focusing only on what we cannot do and should begin to acknowledge and celebrate the many positive aspects of being neurodiverse.“It is important for schools to recognise our many strengths: our creativity, innovation, ability to think outside-the-box, problem-solving skills, unique insights and perspectives, perseverance and resilience.”– SIENA CASTELLON, FOUNDER