Celebrating neurodiversity at Northampton High

Here at Northampton High, we are proud of the diversity of the school and we welcome every chance to celebrate the wonderfully varied qualities of our school community.

This week is Neurodiversity Celebration Week. Students and staff have learnt more about neurodiversity through a brilliant assembly expertly led by Mrs Beezley, our Learning Enhancement Coordinator, and some of our students. They have highlighted various high-profile people, from all sorts of industries, and their experiences of being neurodivergent, as well as listing positive traits associated with autism, ADHD, dyspraxia, and dyslexia. They also emphasised how the neurodiversity movement represents a shift in attitudes and understanding of neurodivergent conditions or differences, seeing them as intrinsic to the individual, and not something to be cured or suppressed. As such, neurodiversity is based on the concept that neurological variances should be recognised and respected just like any other human variation, such as gender, race or sexual orientation.

Of course, it’s important to celebrate neurodiversity all year round, not just in one week. Northampton High is committed to learning more about neurodiversity and cherishing the neurodivergent students among us for all the wonderful attributes and talents with which they enrich us. We valued the opportunity to hear from Lilia, Rose, Lydia and Keira about their experiences with neurodivergent needs, and the care and support they have received from their teachers so as to ensure they thrive and reach their full potential. It was overwhelmingly touching to hear their personal journeys and the positive aspects of being neurodivergent, and we truly appreciate the advice and expertise they shared. Their message was heartfelt and one of inclusion and appreciation of others here at Northampton High.

The beauty of the brain is that everyone’s works differently, and we all have different strengths, needs and abilities. Neurodiversity is about recognising that we don’t all learn the same way and we all have our own unique way of thinking and experiencing the world. Did you know, for example, that people with ADHD can be some of the most creative members on a team, bringing energy and new approaches to their projects, and that several studies have shown that adults with ADHD tend to be out-of-the-box thinkers and calm under pressure?

As we celebrate Neurodiversity Week, it also highlights the importance of the role we have in enhancing each other’s sense of belonging. Each of us are unique and interpret the world in different ways. How we act, what we say, and what we do each day can affect the sense of belonging those around us have at Northampton High. So I would like to encourage our pupils to ask themselves: Do you gladly create connections and form partnerships with people who are not in your immediate friendship group in sport, drama and science? Do you welcome others to join you at lunch and notice the person who seems to have ended up on their own and choose to join them, or not? Are you open to understanding those around you and do you understand, and act upon, your responsibility to ensure that  everyone at Northampton High feels at home? It will always be something we can work on, but I believe every individual within our community can contribute to making it a reality.

Kindness is a core school value – the bedrock of Northampton High. Neurodiversity Celebration Week is one way of reminding students to be kind, and to accept and value people for who they are.