Neurodiversity Celebration Week

This online event was part of Neurodiversity Celebration Week. 

  • Helen Spicer-Cain spoke about her lived experience with Dyspraxia. She is a Speech and Language Therapist and a lecturer at City. She spoke about things that disable her such as not being able to use can openers. This leads to anxiety and avoidance from staying away from home. Dyspraxia is a developmental coordination disorder which is under the umbrella of Neurodivergence. It can affect executive functioning, which can express as difficulty when processing verbal instructions, motor control problems, and depth and speed assessments challenges when driving or crossing a road. When she is listening to someone, she does it in a non-neurotypical way, such as without eye contact, so she can concentrate on what you are saying. 


She said that neurodivergent people commonly have features of more than one type of neurodivergence.  


  • Next, Sarah Hopp, the Student Disability and Neurodiversity Service Manager, spoke about the support offered. You initially email  Students can get a Student Support Plan which could include extra time, rest breaks or a computer. There is a sensory room on campus which is on level 2 at Drysdale at the moment, with a massage chair and mood lighting, and a new one is being built. A student wellbeing café is on Thursdays from 3:30-5:00. City offers a free ADHD assessment, which can speed up an NHS wait for a diagnosis from 10 years to 18 months. 


  • Neuro-affirmative teaching and learning was discussed by three students in the Psychology department. Research shows that academic achievement by Neurodivergent people is good if given appropriate support. It is thought that one in seven students are neurodivergent. Many of them have suffered from what Drummond-Bey (2021) calls ‘Educational Trauma’ getting to this point. Neuro-affirmative teaching guidelines might include the following: 

Slides in advance 

Accessible slides  

Consistency of format on Moodle and deletion of obsolete information 

A range of learning resources offered such as podcasts and talks etc. 

Noise management during group discussions 

Opportunities to learn in different ways 

To think about feedback given, as criticism can have a damaging effect. 


One of the participants made an excellent point when discussing inclusive language such as using person first, ‘a person with autism’, in that context is everything. You would use different language about Neurodivergence when trying to get support from education services or the NHS, as you would use in conversation with a neurodivergent student.  


  • Sara Baig, a 3rd year trainee counselling psychology student, shared her research on women and girls with ADHD. One in three children diagnosed with ADHD are female but half of adults with ADHD are female. Symptoms can be different in girls and boys, and they use masking to cope, leading to later diagnosis than boys. Sara suggested more qualitative data, increased screening for girls and women in mental health services and more support groups, are needed.  


  • Lastly Dr M. Newman from Autistica charity, has developed the Neurodiversity Employers Index, a framework for companies on how to support the neurodivergent workforce. This is the gold standard and measures how well employers do at employing autistic people. Three out of ten autistic people are employed, but seven out of ten autistic people not in employment want to work. Their aim by 2030 is to double the 21.7% employment rate for Autistic people. At City we can improve by: 

 looking at our recruitment policies. 

have inclusion policies specifically for Neurodivergent people 


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