Neurodiversity Celebration Week | Founder Siena Castellon, 13th - 17th May 2019
Neurodiversity Celebration Week. Did you know that it was started by 16 year old Siena Castellon a nationally recognised autism and neurodiversity advocate. At age of 13 she created her own website to support other neurodiverse youngsters.
In particular, she wanted to flip the narrative so that instead of perceiving learning differences as something negative, people should focus on the many strengths and advantages that come from seeing and perceiving the world differently.
With Siena’s lead, Neurodiversity Celebration Week is focused on children and young people and therefore many schools are involved.
However, I think that industry also must learn from and apply this remarkable young lady’s achievements. We need to appreciate the benefits of neurodiversity.
We need to look at things differently:
- Stop designing selection procedures that only neurotypicals can excel at.
- Stop focusing on ‘desirable’ qualities that may be somewhat lacking from the neurodiverse candidate when it is not actually needed to perform effectively in the role.
- Stop thinking that it is just too much to make some adaptations to the work environment to meet their needs.
- Stop thinking that they are too different. Think about how you can adapt and accommodate neurodiverse individuals in the workplace, utilising their strengths and how they can be at their natural best working closely with neurotypical individuals.
- Stop thinking that it is too much work, too disruptive – because it is not.
The key thing we neurotypicals need to overcome is to believe that neurotypical behaviour is OK and everything else is not. Neurodiverse individuals have their brain and senses ‘wired’ up differently to neurotypicals. That means that they experience the world differently and it does mean that their behaviours will be different to ours. Because of this we tend to focus on the negatives. I guess it is human nature – if they are different to us – we think it is not good!
We need to change that thinking.
Indeed, neurodiverse individuals can have behaviours and performance that is clearly outside the neurotypical range that is absolutely phenomenal!
We need to give neurodiverse individuals the right environment and support. As they could be the future Einsteins, Bransons, Michelangelos, Gates, Mozarts, Kubricks, Newtons of tomorrow. Just to name a few. Yes, they are/were all neurodiverse individuals.
We are constantly trying to increase awareness for Neurodiverse individuals and believe that Siena Castellon is a role model for us all. For more information on how to increase awareness in the workplace please see our article: Neurodiversity | What is it & are we missing a trick?