Neurodiversity Celebration Week

25 March 2022

Neurodiverse conf

This week, we were delighted to run a series of events to mark Neurodiversity Celebration Week. We are proud to be a neurodiverse community and recognise that being so enhances and enriches the School in so many ways.

We began the week with whole school assemblies, delivered by Year 13 students, who provided well-informed accounts of a range of neurodiverse conditions – along with commonly associated strengths – explaining how best we can accommodate and understand difference.

The highlight of the week was our first Unique Skills Conference, which delivered the clear message that neurodiverse conditions have positive attributes that can lead to great achievement, success and fulfilment across a range of professions. The all-female panel featured women who embrace the unique skillsets that their neurodiverse conditions present. Our panel spoke openly about how ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia and autism had presented challenges that they’d needed to work additionally hard to overcome but that had ultimately become their unique skillset, positively helping them to achieve great success in their chosen field. From dyslexic author and judge to autistic GP and anaesthetist, our panel demonstrated how a Neurodiverse condition poses no limits, blasting through the glass ceiling of generalisations and stereotypes.

The evening was superbly hosted by Year 13 Freya Rose, who presented the following speakers: Helen Needham, management consultant; Katy Parkhill, IT Innovator and Engineering; Sara Gibbs, comedy script writer; Jo Sargeant, multi-disciplinary artist; Steph Broadribb, author and creative writing coach; Gaby Beattie, judge; Sarah Brown, anaesthetist and Anne-Sophie Le Coguic, GP. Each speaker spoke frankly about their own experiences at school and in the work place, their unique strengths, as well as acknowledging the fact that those who have neurodiverse conditions, just as those who are experiencing other challenges, are working additionally hard to compensate. It was a very well attended, uplifting and inspiring evening, with the clear message that all of our students can aim high, follow their passions and achieve great success in their chosen field because of, and not in spite of, their unique skillsets.

Other events this week included the Film & Media Society exploring the representation of neurodiversity in film, a Philosophy Society session discussing the philosophy of neurodiversity, whilst a special display in the Library promoted our broad selection of relevant fiction and non-fiction books. Staff benefited from a really insightful and helpful training session on ‘Fostering Individuality: the Autistic Spectrum’ delivered by our SEND Advisor Karen Cowan. We also look forward to the next edition of the student publication ‘Normal’ which will feature interviews with the conference panel alongside articles, poems and artwork.


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