Posted on: 12/03/2021

I am so delighted that St. Helen’s College will be taking part in our first Neurodiversity Celebration Week which will be celebrated from March 15th to March 21st in the UK. We will be joining over 1,100 other UK based schools (over 700,000 children) to celebrate the neurodiversity of our incredible brains. 

For so many years there have been negative stereotypes and misconceptions about children and adults whose brains may just be wired slightly differently, meaning that they learn in a slightly different way. It is our responsibility that we educate the children to accept everyone in our society and for them to understand that we all have skills and talents which make us all amazing!   

Neurodiversity is a viewpoint that brain differences are normal, rather than deficits. The idea of neurodiversity can have benefits for children with learning and thinking differences. 

18 year old Siena Castellon, who is herself dyslexic, autistic and dyspraxic and has ADHD, has launched this celebration week to further educate pupils and adults to recognise the many strengths of neurodivergent students. 

In the presentation we will be sharing with the children from Year 1 - Year 6 next week, we will discuss the brain and how all brains are different. ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), dyslexia and ASC (Autistic Syndrome Condition) will be outlined, along with how they can affect someone, and we will be celebrating the wonderful achievements of prominent people in our society who the children will recognise. For example, Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, Chris Packham, the presenter of Spring Watch and Anne Hegarty, quiz master from the Chase, are autisitic. Richard Branson and Will Smith both are dyslexic. Emma Watson (actress - Hermoine Granger in Harry Potter) and Robbie Williams both have ADHD. Considering these high profile people will help us to understand that having a neurodiverse brain does not limit people’s opportunities or achievements.

I urge you to read the fascinating Harvard Business Review article here, which outlines how neurodiversity has been seen as a competitive advantage in many workforces and still remains a talent to be tapped into. Companies who have adapted their HR and recruitment processes and taken time to get to know individuals and how they best work are reaping the benefits of their strengths. 

I am certainly not an expert on neurodiversity and would never claim to be. However, I am sure that you agree that the more we can educate the pupils at St. Helen’s College about neurodiversity, the more accepting and understanding of each other they will be - not only here at school, but also in developing relationships with people in the future who may have previously had to battle with the stigma which historically was associated with people who are differently abled. 

If you would like to find out more about the Neurodiversity Celebration Week then please do watch some of the superb videos in the link here.  It really is our duty to our children and to ourselves that we are more knowledgeable and that we understand more about our amazing minds! 

Mrs. Drummond