#Neurodiversitycelebrationweek Charity Community

Neurodiversity week 15-21st March 2021

This week is Neurodiversity celebration week, we at Love Andover celebrate daily how creative and diverse Andover is, we don’t just want to have awareness we want to celebrate our learning differences which make up a great team and focus on our strengths and talents.

Neurodiversity week was originally launched in May 2019 by sixteen-year-old, UN Youth Ambassador, Siena Castellon. Her own experiences at school as an Autistic, ADHD, dyspraxic and dyslexic individual lead her to explore gaps in people’s knowledge and understanding when we talk about neurodiversity.

The concept ‘neurodiversity’ is a viewpoint that brain differences are normal, rather than deficits, this week is about reducing the stigma around learning and thinking differences and celebrating the variations of the human brain. Founder and Managing director of Love Andover, David Harber said “Every person here is utterly unique. I am proud to work with some very unique individuals here at Love Andover.  Each day we celebrate those people who have unique talents because of the wondrous ways the brain works. They are meticulous writers, creative thinkers, self-critical broadcasters and people whose ability to think outside the box or provide exceptional levels of energy is a benefit to our business. If you think about yourself in detail you’ll believe, like me, that we are all in the spectrum. And it’s a wonderful set of colours”

Last night local business woman Laura Tween founder of Able Hands Together CIC was awarded the ‘Community Choice Award 2021’ at the #CelebratingNeurodiversityAwards with Genius within CIC.

Laura who is diagnosed herself with ADHD in adulthood set up Able Hands Together in 2015 to provide a service for adults with learning difficulties. Laura has a long history of working in social care and it was whilst activities people had access to as therapeutic activities were not benefitting their life skills, Laura felt that this gap needed to be address and there should be something on offer to enhance learning opportunities, so neurodivergent people can ‘learn new skills, build their independence and work on emotional well-being simultaneously’.

Laura told Andover Radio 95.5fmWe are all really pleased to have won the community choice award. We have 27 co- farmers at our small holding farm based in Salisbury, which is set up as a therapeutic farm service to assist with day to day farm work, building employability, interpersonal skills, independence, and self-esteem.

Over lockdown we have had to do a lot of online workshops and our service has grown by 110%. We are able to provide a nurturing environment and laid back attitude towards positive risk taking, which really benefits people to have the opportunities to learn new skills that will be transferable to everyday life. I truly believe with the right environment anyone can thrive.

“Neurodiversity in the work place is a gift, we need blue sky thinkers to move forward. Celebrating these gifts and letting their talents shine is beneficial all round.”

Nancy Doyle CEO of Genius within said “I hope everyone in the Neurodiversity world, as well as our allies in education and employment, will take a moment this week to reflect on how far we’ve come, how many of us are coming together and the feel-good factor of amplifying the good work in this sector. Laura has overcome so many barriers, whilst simultaneously helping so many in the neurodiversity community achieving their potential and find meaning

Tori Rist, founder of The Andover Small School, which is a unique special school, for children aged 5 to 16, providing an exciting alternative for those children who are unable to achieve their full potential in a conventional school environment, told Andover Radio “Celebrating neurodiversity, in all its wonderful forms, is always something we enjoy at the Andover Small School but especially during Neurodiversity Celebration Week.  The very fact that Siena Castellon created this, when she was just 18, shows how our brains can create great things when nurtured. 

Whilst every individual is different, we often think outside the box, have the ability to hyper-focus on a project or topic and see the world differently to most people. These are qualities that more and more employers are starting to recognise, so we need to ensure that neurodivergent children are educated in a way that embraces these strengths and supports them to advocate for themselves in the areas that they may find difficult.

As we develop the Andover Small School, which will support those children who struggle in mainstream education, we will ensure that the individuality and unique learning style of each child is supported and celebrated.  Growing up as an undiagnosed autistic with ADHD, I spent most of my education thinking (and sometimes being told) that I wouldn’t amount to anything.  It is experiences like these and of other families that we speak to that drives our ambitions to create an environment where each child’s educational journey will be unique, nurtured and celebrated.” To find out more about The Andover Small School click here

There are many minds

many ways to see the world

which way to unfold

the paper blue sky

and the sea salty blue sea.

What makes me uptight?

what causes me a fright?

Is that people judge other people

for the way they view the paperback novel

the world has become

it leaves people numb

I may not always read between the lines

or understand peoples expressions

but I still hate injustice and I want to change the world

I don’t want your suggestions

of how I am rude or obtuse

I just want to be let loose

on what drives me

that’s my super power!

Written by Dan Hooks

If your school or work place is doing something to celebrate neurodiversity week please get in touch so we can share to our community.