Neurodiversity Celebration Week is back at ASL!

Neurodiversity Celebration Week is back at ASL!

Our third annual Neurodiversity Celebration Week has returned—better than ever. The high school Neurodiversity Club has been working hard to bring awareness to the experiences of ASL’s neurodivergent students, holding two events this month. Read on to discover more about what’s been happening around the School.

On Monday, 20 March, this year’s Neurodiversity Celebration Week kicked off with an interactive question-and-answer session in the Mellon Library, hosted by four members of the Neurodiversity Club. Students shared their educational experiences and learning journeys with guests, then opened the floor for questions from employees, parents and fellow students in attendance.

The next day, six students led conversations on various neurodiversity topics, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), ADHD, dyslexia and more. Resources to browse between discussions included books featuring conversations on neurodiversity . The objective of these events is to bring attention to neurodiversity and the experiences of our students who navigate education with Specific Learning Differences (SLD)—building a community within ASL for all neurodiverse constituents.

With the help of morning announcements, posters and event-planning guidance from the Parent Educational Resource Committee (PERC), the turnout was impressive and the events a success! Annesley ’23 and Tyler ’24 (co-founders of the ASL Neurodiversity Club) came together with Heather Statz, high school learning specialist, and other members of the SLD team to spread a powerful message of acceptance.

“I like planning events and definitely have a passion for raising awareness around  neurodiversity. Thanks to help from Ms. Statz and the rest of the SLD team, the events went amazingly well and each had a great turnout! We wanted the events to be a lot more interactive this year, and I think we definitely achieved that.”  

— Annesley '24, student and co-founder of the Neurodiversity Club

It's estimated that one in seven people are neurodivergent, with some type of SLD. It’s important to highlight the strengths that come with neurodiversity as well as the struggles—such as perseverance and the ability to share their experiences, as well as acting as a role model for younger neurodivergent students. Although neurodiversity may bring difficulties in learning, everyone has the capacity to thrive as long as the right support is in place.

Raising awareness during a dedicated week is a great opportunity to place emphasis on the experiences of neurodivergent people within our community; however, it doesn’t stop there, and sets a precedent for the rest of the school year. The Neurodiversity Club has big plans for the future. Meeting every Monday at lunch, the club is made up of both neurodivergent and neurotypical students, working alongside the high school SLD program to make a difference.

The coming months will see a talk for middle school students on the use of language in the context of neurodiversity and ableism, a charity fundraising concert, and a lower school event to connect younger and older neurodiverse students through reading. Watch for updates on upcoming events in Take Note!