March 13, 2023

Neurodiversity Celebration Week is here!

Let’s celebrate the incredible variation in our brains, the ways we can be neuroinclusive, and the important contributions neurodivergent people make in all of our communities.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week is here!

Neurodiversity Celebration Week (March 13 to 19) has a full schedule of free online events. Sign up for as many events as you like. You can register here.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week was founded by Siena Castellon, an extraordinary neurodiversity advocate, Young Leader for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and published author who is Autistic, dyslexic, dyspraxic, and has ADHD. Castellon launched the week in 2018 when she was only 16 years old with the aim of changing the narrative about learning differences and neurodiversity in schools. In her own words:

“I founded Neurodiversity Celebration Week in 2018 because I wanted to change the way learning differences are perceived. As a teenager who is Autistic and has ADHD, dyslexia, and dyspraxia, my experience has been that people often focus on the challenges of neurological diversity. I wanted to change the narrative and create a balanced view which focuses equally on our talents and strengths.”

The concept of neurodiversity was coined by the autistic advocate and Australian sociologist Judy Singer in 1999. Singer rejected the medicalization of Autism and posited that Autistic people’s brains function differently than other people's. Since then, neuroscience has confirmed Singer’s perspective on neurodiversity: that there is natural variation in human brain structure, chemistry, and functioning, which means there is natural diversity in the way we think, draw connections, and experience the world. It also means we have different support needs and thrive best in different environments.

This is extremely relevant in schools. Most schools are designed with the needs and skills of neurotypical students. This means that there is an enormous, invisible barrier to success and well-being in schools for neurodivergent students (students with ADHD, Autism, Tourette’s Syndrome, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and other conditions that impact the way we learn, draw connections, and experience the world).

Schools, workplaces, and universities have pledged to focus on neurodiversity through the Neurodiversity Celebration Week, focusing on education and awareness around brain differences, sharing how to support neurodivergent peers in advocating for accommodations, and acknowledging the importance of neurodiversity for our communities. Join the celebration right here.

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Did you know?

For years, Judy Singer was not given the recognition or credit deserved for her enormous (and continuing!) contribution to the neurodiversity movement. An effort is underway by the social enterprise GeniusWithin to rectify this injustice and provide Singer with monthly financial compensation.

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