You may have seen online that March 21 to March 27 is Neurodiversity Week. The week aims to highlight that neurodiversity is a wonderful thing and to change the narrative for individuals who are neurodiverse. You may have found yourself with some questions about the week, which I hope to answer here.

What is Neurodiversity Week?

Neurodiversity Week is a worldwide initiative that aims to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences. The week aims to help transform how neurodivergent individuals are perceived. The week also supports schools, universities, and organisations by providing encouragement and opportunities to establishments to recognise the many talents and advantages of being neurodivergent, while creating more inclusive and equitable cultures that celebrate differences and empower every neurodivergent individual.

Why was Neurodiversity Week founded?

Siena Castellon, the founder of Neurodiversity Week, states on the website that ‘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.’

Neurodiversity Week was created to challenge the norm and begin to open the conversation to include individuals who are not neurotypical. There was also a desire to begin to include neurodivergent individuals within normal everyday spaces such as work, universities, schools etc. Neurodiversity Week encourages those who meet the wide and vast definition to speak up for themselves and go after what they desire.

What is the purpose of Neurodiversity Week?

As stated on the Neurodiversity Week website the aims are ‘’to help the world to understand, value and celebrate the talents of neurodiverse minds.’’

The purpose of the week is to encourage individuals who are neurodivergent to speak up for themselves and to encourage them to begin to recognise their own talents and values. The week also aims to encourage people who are not neurodivergent to recognise individuals who are, and to celebrate their achievements on their behalf and to begin to ensure that everyone is included within the narrative.

Why do I care about Neurodiversity Week?

When I was 18, during the first year of my BA degree, I went through the process to gain a diagnosis of Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. When I gained my diagnosis, everything made much more sense to me and I was finally able to access any support or assistance that I needed to ensure that I’m able to thrive in my life. It has also been suggested that there is a possibility that I could be autistic.

It is incredibly important to me, as a neurodivergent individual, that everyone is able to access the same opportunities in life. We should not be limited due to the fact that we are different. In the past, I’ve been subject to some bad encounters with individuals who aren’t aware of neurodiversity or have chosen not to champion neurodiversity. I believe that Neurodiversity Week is certainly a step in the right direction to educate neurotypical individuals and to begin to work on stopping neurodivergent individuals from having bad experiences.  Changing the narrative, to demonstrate that being different is wonderful and not a bad thing, is vital for us. 

I have also had my share of positive experiences with individuals who have chosen to champion my differences. Not every neurotypical individual is bad.  I personally believe that I’ve succeed in my life because of my neurodiversity not in spite of it.

How can I get involved?

  1. Register for some of the 24 free events to begin to understand and campaign neurodiversity.
  2. Download free useful resources about neurodiversity or to help you organise your own events from the website.
  3. Download some of the social media packs and update your pages with social media information on Neurodiversity Week.
  4. Follow Neurodiversity Week on Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram.

Help change the narrative around neurological differences by sharing your story, positive messages and Neurodiversity Celebration Week events on social media. If you choose to share your story, use the following hashtags #NeurodiversityCelebrationWeek, #neurodiversityweek, #NCW.