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ASL blog: celebrating neurodiversity at ASL

This week marked the beginning of the School’s second annual Neurodiversity Celebration Week, in which ASL joined schools and organizations around the world in building awareness and fostering acceptance of neurodiversity. A group of students are relating their experiences and unmasking misinformation around this important topic. Here, Tyler ’24 shares the story of the stellar work of our students.

The concept of “neurodiversity” recognizes that different learning styles and ways of processing information are simply natural variations in the human brain, and can bring with them many strengths. To highlight the importance of those strengths in the ASL community, the high school Neurodiversity Club arranged a number of activities throughout this week, and events will continue into next month. 

Sharing across the divisions
Earlier this week, neurodiverse high school students visited 19 lower school classrooms to read storybooks on topics such as dyslexia, autism, ADHD, and more. "The older students then shared their own experiences of living and learning with these differences" The older students then shared their own experiences of living and learning with these differences, inviting questions and discussion from the classes. Co-organizer Annesley ’24 explained the impact of the students coming together for this remarkable time of sharing: “We are trying to teach this younger generation because all through our lives we come into contact with people with neurodiverse differences. It’s good to know what they struggle with and what they do well so we can be respectful to everyone.”

Debunking the myths
Throughout the School, notice boards, library displays and posters celebrating neurodiversity can be found, highlighting facts, debunking myths and seeking to raise awareness of the challenges faced by students with learning differences, and the unique perspective they bring to our community. The High School will celebrate Autism Day on 4 April (organized by Emmie ’22); middle school students are looking forward to presenting and engaging in an assembly exploring neurodiversity on 7 April; and high school advisors will be invited over the coming months to share with their advisories a video highlighting neurodiversity in the ASL community. 

A wider audience
In addition, in conjunction with high school learning specialists, six high school students are preparing to share their experiences of being neurodiverse with the wider ASL community—organized by Sara ’22. This series of conversations, exploring ADHD, dyslexia, autism, executive functioning and processing issues, will be presented next week, and includes a panel discussion involving high school learning specialists, a high school counselor, and the director of student support services, who will answer questions about ASL’s strengths-based approach to supporting the educational needs of neurodiverse students.