Winter is nearly over, the freshness of spring is in the air, and the festival of insights and community otherwise known as Neurodiversity Celebration Week is just around the corner.
With that in mind, we’re sharing our rundown of what to expect when Neurodiversity Week rolls around.
What is neurodiversity week?
Although the conversation on neurodiversity has been slowly moving from the fringes to the middleground in recent years, there’s still plenty to be done to help business, education and society as a whole build more supportive spaces for those who are neurodiverse.
Founded in 2018 by 20-year-old author and advocate Siena Castellon (who's battled ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia and autism), Neurodiversity Week is a global initiative that has been working to bridge this gap, to help empower and celebrate those who make up this diverse community.
This year’s event (March 13-19) is set to be the biggest yet, with 24 free virtual events happening across 7 days, and featuring over 70 speakers and panellists, to spark inspiring discussions, share experiences, and offer professional expertise.
As campaign director Aidan Healy puts it:
“Neurodiversity is more than labels like Dyslexia, Autism or ADHD. The campaign is more than ‘raising awareness’ or simply highlighting a challenge to be recognised by society.
To celebrate neurodiversity, we also want to highlight what’s positive about it! [The] unique strengths, talents and perspectives that come from thinking differently.”
With webinars, launch events, workshops, and talks on everything from how to build a neurodiversity-friendly workplace culture, to the best ways to create neuro-inclusive classrooms, Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2023 is set to offer a bevvy of insights and networks for organizations, educators, and business leaders alike.
The emerging conversation on neurodiversity in the workplace
Workplace neuro-inclusive design consultant, Kim Allingham, spoke recently with Flown about the changing face of work, and how businesses are needing to adjust to better accommodate and harness neurodiverse talent. She highlights the dearth of understanding when it comes to neurodiversity, and the need to develop more awareness to avoid creating unwitting barriers. “Instead of seeing the person as a problem,” Allingham explains, “understand what’s triggering [them]”.
It’s a thought echoed by ADHD advocate, Theo Smith, who co-authored 2022’s Business Book Award-winning Neurodiversity at Work.
We recently sat down with Theo to discuss the challenges those who are neurodiverse can face in the workplace, and to highlight how businesses can work to better harness their strengths.
“It’s a case of how can we continue to harness this [neurodiverse] talent we’ve got. Where organisations struggle is that as they scale, systems, processes, management structures and job roles change significantly and very quickly.
And then what you can get is someone who may have been performing really well — a change in manager, leadership structure, or their role — all of a sudden that individual really, really struggles… organisations that are doing well need to start planning that journey of how to take [neurodiverse] people with us. If we don’t start to consider their mental health, their wellbeing and how they’re going to be impacted by changes, we’re going to hit a problem.”
These kinds of challenges illustrate the value of initiatives like Neurodiversity Week. It provides an opportunity for businesses to learn more about neurodiversity, understand how it can add value to their workplace, and create resources and partnerships with experts in the field.
Flown’s partnering with Neurodiversity in Business
All of this is why Flown has recently launched a partnership with Neurodiversity in Business, an industry forum to support the participation of neurodiverse individuals in the workplace.
Who are Neurodiversity in Business?
NiB, led by Dan Harris (Chief Executive Officer) draws upon the cumulative knowledge of neurodiverse experts and leading companies to share best practices and improve the employment and experience of the neurodiverse workforce.
FLOWN’s partnership with Neurodiversity in Business allows for companies to re-examine practices that may be problematic or limiting to neurodivergent team members.
Alongside events like Neurodiversity Celebration Week, these initiatives are helping to bring awareness to the challenges faced by those with varying forms of neurodivergence to create more accepting spaces and communities, at work and everywhere else.
Get involved: neurodiversityweek.com