What Does Neurodiversity Celebration Week mean to you?

We asked some of our Neurodivergent Associates Team what Neurodiversity Celebration means to them, and here is what they said:

Alex Manners:

“To me, Neurodiversity Celebration Week allows people to understand more about the experiences of people who think, feel, and view the world differently. It will educate schools on how best to look after their neurodiverse individuals in the classroom. The week will also show companies how valuable we can be to work with, and some of the ways you can easily adapt a workplace to make it more accessible for us”.

“I have Asperger’s, which is a form of autism. I would like people to know that Asperger’s is something that I will have for life, and because of this, it will continue to bring along many challenges that I will have to face. However, it also brings along many positives, that I like to call my ‘Asperger’s Superpowers’. I look upon my Asperger’s as something positive and feel lucky to have been able to manage it over the past 26 years. Everyone who is neurodiverse is different, and I believe that most important thing you can do is to treat them with empathy and allow environments to be adapted to suit their individual needs”.

Savannah Trail:

“I’m diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), as well as depression and anxiety. I was diagnosed with ASD when I was 13 years old. I began to realise that I experience things differently from a neurotypical person. I remember showing my parents a video that attempts to simulate sensory overload in a shopping centre, and they were shocked at how overwhelming a simple shopping trip could be. I even recall them asking, ‘is this really what it’s like?’. I used to have huge meltdowns when shopping at supermarkets in the busiest times because I hear trollies wheeling clanging, footsteps, people chattering, music playing, tills beeping, packets rustling, phones pinging, children screaming, and it was painful hearing all these sounds. However, back then, I didn’t realise I was experiencing sensory overload. Now I can recognise when I’m being triggered and go to these places at times where it is quieter. I discovered noise cancelling headphones when I was at college, and I take them everywhere I go.

Neurodivergence as a black person is very difficult as there is a huge stigma regarding mental health. I am lucky to have a family that wanted to learn more and are supporting me with my difficulties that I face.

I hope, that with my degree in psychology, I can help other people with their diagnoses in the future and try to erase the stigma of mental health in ethnic minorities. I have recently been working as a Special Educational Needs Teaching Assistant in various schools, although it has been challenging, I have really enjoyed supporting children that need what I needed during school. I will be graduating soon, and I want to show that being neurodivergent and from an ethnic minority is not a limitation. The sky is the limit!”

Geoff Render:

“Neurodiversity Celebration Week is raising awareness that we are all different and bring exciting new perspectives to life”.

“I was glad to be assessed as dyslexic at 30. It gave me an understanding of why I am the way I am. A lot of the negativity was about how to change myself, but the irony is, if you make adaptations for people, you can actually help a vast majority of the population. I devised a new way to write reports at work and the company rolled it out to everyone to help all staff. Inclusion breaks barriers down and makes environments better for all, whether that’s work or leisure’”. 

Phil Steventon:

“For there to be this week where the spotlight is on us, and where hopefully there are plenty of people, including employers and colleagues, listening to us and our stories, it means a lot. And during the week, for there to be meaningful interactions with other neurodivergent people, and learning sessions being hosted by neurodivergent professionals, it is a great opportunity to learn a lot from us in this space of time. But whilst the week is good, it is what happens during the other 51 weeks of the year that is important. Neurodiversity celebration shouldn’t be confined to just one week. We don’t stop being neurodivergent for the other 51 weeks of the year, so keeping the intentions going after this one week means our peers can continue to acknowledge our experiences, abilities, and perspectives, and also support us through our challenges, struggles and traumas”.

“It is a common preconception that neurodivergent people either have high needs in work and life or are exceptional in work and life. I am neither, like so many of us. Whilst I have a great analytical and detail-orientated mind, I have a super high work ethic and levels of professionalism and I am very good when it comes to spotting patterns in work and behaviour. I can struggle with unwritten rules in life and in work, processing abstract and complex multi-layered information, making and keeping friends and acquaintances, self-confidence and ‘bigging myself up’, and inertia where there are times when I just can’t move forward. What is important is that neurodivergence isn’t static in any of us. On some days, I can get through everything I need to. On others, I can’t even work out what I need to do that day. On some days, my sensory needs are not high at all. On others, I can’t even stand background noise. On some days, I love interacting with people. Other days, I can’t get words out to keep an easy conversation going”.

“My hope is that with more and more of our peers better understanding our experiences, and understanding that we able to live great lives and contribute to our workplaces and communities with that bit extra support to remove barriers and obstacles, those barriers to real understanding can be brought down and we can all learn more about each other and what we need to support each other in our lives and workplaces”.

To find out more about Creased Puddle and the services we offer, visit Neurodiversity in The Workplace – Creased Puddle