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Category: Dyslexia, Family, Challenges, diagnosis, ADHD, supporting colleagues, Equality in the Workplace, Empowering disabled colleagues, Neurodiversity Network, Neurodiverse colleagues, Parent Network Slack channel, Tourette syndrome, Complex Tic disorders, Neurodiversity research, Which
Jenny McLaughlin, Senior Corporate Communications Manager
Today, we’re launching a neurodiversity employee network to support neurodiverse colleagues and family members of people who are neurodiverse.
Neurodiversity is a term used to describe the different ways the brain can work to process information. Examples of some neurodiverse conditions include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, tourette syndrome and complex tic disorders.
Jenny Mclaughlin, senior corporate communications manager, and chair of the network explains more about the objectives of the network and what we can expect.
What made you want to start a neurodiversity network?
‘I’m a parent to a 16 year-old daughter who has recently been diagnosed as Austistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) and suffering from Autistic Burnout following the stresses of the repeated lockdowns and reopenings of the past year and a half. Like so many girls and women, M has been ‘masking’ throughout her life, until the extended periods of staying home last year resulted in her losing her coping techniques.
‘The assessment process has been demanding, complex and draining. It’s a whole new world to navigate and there are many blockages and hurdles to overcome. We’re only just beginning our journey of understanding our daughter’s diagnosis and what this means for her and for us, now and into the future. I’d love to hear from others who are going through this - or have been through this - and from neurodiverse colleagues about their own experiences. I’m here to share, listen, learn and support others.’
What are the objectives of the network?
‘This channel is for us to share our experiences of the highs and lows, the challenges, logistics and joys of neurodiversity. It will be a space to share stories and benefit from the insight and experience of others but most importantly it will be a respectful and empathetic environment where we listen, support and learn from each other.’
Can anyone become a member?
‘You are welcome if you are neurodiverse/ASC yourself, you have a child, partner or family member who is neurodiverse, or if you would like to better understand and be an ally to those navigating the realities of neurodiversity.’
What can colleagues look forward to?
‘I’m hoping that we can learn from one another and support members through sharing insight and experience. On a personal level, having been through the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) diagnosis process, I’m happy to share my experiences of that, along with the process of working with Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) at school on an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP). There’s also been some interesting developments into neurodiversity research and we can share news, books and other reading material on the subject.’
Has anyone else been involved in developing the idea for the network?
‘From conversations I had with other parents on the Parent Network Slack channel, I know I’m not alone and I know that it’s helpful to be able to discuss neurodiversity with understanding colleagues. I also hope that colleagues who are neurodiverse themselves will find it a helpful, warm environment.’