Lead on partnerships & Community outreach
Lead on partnerships & Community outreach
Learn, share, and celebrate the incredible variation in our brains, the ways we can be affirmatively neuroinclusive, and the important contributions neurodivergent people make in all of our communities.
It’s Neurodiversity Celebration Week! It’s the time of the year where the global community comes together to celebrate our collective neurodiversity and the contributions, ingenuity and resilience of neurodivergent people. Through the week there are 24 virtual event, which are free and attentive to individual access needs - find the complete schedule and sign-up right here.
If it’s your first time hearing about the celebration, Neurodiversity Celebration Week was founded by Siena Castellon - a neurodiversity advocate, Young Leader for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, published author, and Stanford student who is autistic, dyslexic, dyspraxic and has ADHD. Sienna launched NDCW in 2018 when she was 16 years old with the aim of changing the narrative about learning differences and neurodiversity in schools. Since then, the week has grown tremendously and this year Siena has partnered with Lexxic - a leading neurodiversity at work organization - and Neurodiversity Celebration Week is set to be bigger than ever.
Castellon founded Neurodiversity Celebration week because as a student her differences were treated as challenges to her achieving academic and professional goals. Castellon knew from experience that with the right adjustments and accommodations this was not the case. Now, Neurodiversity Celebration Week ‘is an initiative that challenges stereotypes & misconceptions about neurological differences. Transforming how individuals are perceived and supported.’
The concept of neurodiversity was coined by the autistic advocate and sociologist Judy Singer in 1998. Singer coined the concept while looking for language to include neurological difference and autistic identity in conversations happening around human difference around other axes (like race, gender, and class), particularly in relation to civil rights and intersectionality. Singer rejected the medicalization of autism and posited that autistic people’s brains function differently than other peoples. Singer wrote in 1998: “For me, the key significance of the Autism Spectrum lies in its call for and anticipation of a politics of neurological diversity, or ‘neurodiversity.’ The neurologically different represent a new addition to the familiar political categories of class/gender/race and will augment the insights of the social model of disability.”
Decades later, neuroscience has confirmed this perspective on neurodiversity: 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, workplaces, and public spaces. Most environments are designed with the needs and skills of neurotypical people in mind. The concepts of being neurodivergent and neurodivergence - which “refers to neurologically divergent from typical,” were coined by Kassiane Asasumasu. There is an enormous, sometimes invisible barrier to success and wellbeing in schools and workplaces for neurodivergent people (including but not limited to those with ADHD, autism, Tourette’s Syndrome, dyslexia, and other conditions that impact the way we draw connections and experience the world.
If you’re looking for resources to delve into neurodiversity learning in your community, through our partnership with Kahoot! we offer a set of learning games that support knowledge-building around neurodiversity, including a K! Quiz in honour of Neurodiversity Celebration Week. We have also created this free downloadable PDF teaching resource about executive functioning, which gives a primer on executive functioning in relation to neurodiversity, and helps to illustrate why typical school and work environments may need to be adjusted so all people get their best chance. Let us know how it goes on Instagram or Twitter! #NeurodiversityCelebrationWeek