20/03/2024 - Permalink

Council supports Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2024

Related topics: Adult social care / Children's services / Health / Partner organisations

Shropshire Council is celebrating Neurodiversity Celebration Week this week (Monday 18 March to Sunday 24 March 2024) to raise awareness of the support and information available for neurodiverse adults and children.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week is a global celebration of neurodiverse individuals that aims to raise awareness of, and challenge stereotypes about, a range of neurodevelopment and learning disabilities, and bring about worldwide neurodiversity acceptance, equality and inclusion in schools and workplaces.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2024 logo

Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2024

Neurodiversity refers to the natural differences in the way our brains work. Some people refer to themselves as neurodivergent. However, the term neurodiversity is more commonly used to refer to everyone, including the full range of brain differences.

The theme for Neurodiversity Celebration Week this year is ‘Challenging Stereotypes’. This means actively working to raise awareness about neurodiversity and how different neurodivergences can present themselves, as well as debunking the myths associated with neurodivergent individuals. By doing so, we can all develop a greater understanding of how differently our shared world can be experienced, including areas that are positive and/or of challenge, and what may be done to enhance each other’s knowledge and support in the future.

Neurodiversity can come in many forms, including (but not limited to):

  • Autism
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Epilepsy

Shropshire Council’s neurodiversity practitioners Helen, Rachel and Hollie work in the Shropshire Educational Psychology Service. With a focus on autism and ADHD, the team work with schools across Shropshire to help raise the profile and understanding of neurodiversity.

The practitioners do this by enabling children, parent carers and staff to recognise strengths and build on what is already working well for neurodivergent children.  The team work together to develop skills, knowledge and empathy to support identified challenges. This may include signposting to useful organisations and relevant information to advocate for positive change in the lives of our neurodivergent children. 

Neurodiversity reading resources

Shropshire Council’s library service offer a wide range of resources on neurodiversity. Anyone wanting to know more about neurodiversity should head along to their local library, all of which are autism-friendly spaces, where they will find a wealth of books and resources about the neurodiversity available for loan or to view online. To access the resources online, all you need to do is join your local library. To find out more go to Libraries | Shropshire Council

Museum work placements for those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND)

The council’s museums and archives service runs a programme for individuals with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) to undertake a work placement with the service.

The work placements are based at one of three sites: Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, Shropshire Archives in Shrewsbury, or Shropshire Museums Collections Centre in Ludlow.

Placements are designed to help individuals feel prepared for the world of work, build confidence and develop skills in a friendly and creative environment. The programme uses the Skills Builder Universal Framework for Essential Skills, and you can find out more about the framework here: www.skillsbuilder.org/universal-framework.

The museums service also run The Quiet Hour – Shropshire Museums  which is especially popular with neurodivergent visitors who prefer a quieter environment to visit. Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery offers The Quiet Hour from 11am to midday on the last Sunday of the month.  Visitors can expect:

  • A quieter time, when we typically experience fewer visitors*
  • Audio elements around the galleries to be turned off/down low
  • A quiet room to be available.

Kirstie Hurst-Knight, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children and education, said:-

“We believe that everyone should have access to education and work and to flourish in their communities.

“I am proud that we are supporting Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2024 and to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences.

“We are committed to embracing neurodiversity, and acknowledge the numerous talents and advantages that come with being neurodivergent.

“It’s great to see the wealth of advice and support that is on offer, from our neurodiversity practitioners and our culture and leisure services, to help and support Shropshire’s neurodiverse community, and to nurture and build on the great strengths being neurodiverse brings.

“We continue to work with our partners to encourage and build an inclusive culture that celebrates differences and empowers every individual to thrive.”

Did you know

  • Around 1 in 7 people (more than 15% of people in the UK) are neurodivergent.
  • No two people are the same, and so we will all have different profiles.
  • Although we talk about specific neurodifferences such as autism and dyslexia, the reality is that these can co-occur.
  • Every neurodivergent individual has a unique pattern of strengths and challenges.
  • We tend to operate on an approach to diagnosis and labels, which can mean that quite often the focus is on the challenges, rather than the many strengths and talents of neurodivergent individuals.
  • It is important that we take a person-centred approach, by tailoring strategies to each individual.
  • It is important to harness the strengths and talents of neurodivergent individuals: this helps to build confidence and self-esteem, and ensures individuals are given the opportunity to flourish in their day-to-day.

NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin neurodiversity videos and online information

NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin / Integrated Care System have created a series of videos that explain neurodiversity, as well as other videos on:

  • Strengths and challenges of neurodivergent people
  • Health inequalities of neurodivergent people
  • How to use inclusive language for neurodiversity
  • How to support neurodiverse colleagues and patients.

You can also visit their Healthier Together website Neurodiversity (stw-healthiertogether.nhs.uk) which offers lots of advice, information and support. This is a new resource, regularly being added to and updated. It provides valuable signposting for parent carers of neurodivergent children and for school staff working alongside them.

To find out more about Neurodiversity Celebration Week and to join in the free webinars for practitioners and parents carers, visit Neurodiversity Celebration Week (neurodiversityweek.com)

Autism West Midlands are the leading charity in the region for people on the autism spectrum. The charity use their expertise to enrich the lives of autistic people and those who love and care for them. To find out more visit Autism West Midlands | Supporting the Autistic Community