Neurodiversity Celebration Week 15-20 March 2021

News / 15.03.2021

15th March 2021 will mark the beginning of Neurodiversity Celebration Week. The week seeks to raise awareness of neurodiversity by celebrating neurodivergent individuals and their achievements. It also aims to help change perceptions around neurodiverse conditions.

‘Neurodiversity’ is the diversity of all human brains. We all think, learn and communicate differently. The umbrella term includes those with Dyslexia, Autism, ADHD, Dyspraxia and other neurological conditions – individuals described as ‘neurodivergent’. The neurodiversity movement revolves around the principle that there is not one “normal” or “right” type of brain.

It is widely acknowledged that diverse organisations perform better – this includes diversity of thought. However, research undertaken by The Institute of Leadership & Management (2019) reveals a significant lack of understanding and awareness in the workplace; despite around 1 in 7 people in the UK being neurodivergent (more than 15% of the population). In addition, most respondents outlined that their organisations did not reference neurodiversity within internal policies, nor did they provide training on it.

Neurodiversity is a competitive advantage and provides a depth and breadth of abilities and talents in the workplace. However, to effectively harness these talents, employers need to prioritise exploring more holistic approaches of recruitment; promoting difference within their organisation; as well as embedding and tailoring reasonable adjustments throughout the business ethos.

Initiatives are under way in the tech, legal and finance industries, including Google; Microsoft; Goldman Sachs and Apple; that actively recruit neurodiverse individuals. But there is much to be done in the planning profession and wider built environment sector.

Recognising this, ‘Neurodiversity in Planning’ was born out of the need to raise the profile of neurodivergent professionals and to help their employers better support them. Neurodiversity in Planning is a voluntary working group (comprised of over 260 members) that provides a networking forum and can be found on LinkedIn.

Since forming in September 2020, the working group has begun informing policy change to embed support for neurodiversity into the workplace and collaborated on CPD accredited webinars with both academics and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

Although originally founded to support planning professionals, the working group has grown to include members from throughout the built environment and real estate sectors.

Over the course of Neurodiversity Celebration Week, neurodiversity will be celebrated by discussing its importance, sharing resources, and undertaking surveys to inform future initiatives.

Neurodiversity in Planning will be hosting another webinar on Inclusive Design for Autism on 1st April 2021. The working group are also currently collaborating with industry leaders on a toolkit which provides practical guidance for employers and employees on supporting neurodiversity and promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

To join Neurodiversity in Planning, please send a request to the LinkedIn group or scan the QR code provided.

Neurodiversity in planning QR code