Celebrating and Supporting Neurodiversity
Neurodiversity affirming practice is at the heart of what we do at Shepwell. We are passionate about celebrating our uniqueness and differences, we support our children in recognising their amazing skills and talents and support them in achieving their goals. We want them to be proud of their neurodiversity and go out into the world feeling confident about the wonderful people they are!
As a school we are currently working towards the NAS Inclusion Award for our autism practice and are proud of our work towards this goal.
Our school is centred around embracing the uniqueness and strengths of our neurodivergent children and providing them and their families with the skills, tools, and strategies to allow for improved participation at school, home and the wider world: Our support and approaches may include:
- Seeking to understand the needs of neurodivergent children from their perspective and adapting the environment to meet these needs.
- Understanding and respecting neurodivergent communication styles.
- Understanding and accommodating individual sensory needs.
- Encouraging neurodivergent rather than neurotypical listening skills.
- Assisting in developing self-advocacy and problem-solving skills.
- Teaching children to better understand the emotions, behaviours, and communication of other people around them, so they can better choose how they want to respond.
- Validating children’s feelings, helping them recognise their triggers, and assisting in identifying calming strategies.
- Recognising the need for processing time and safe spaces.
- Encouraging safe self-regulation skills, including stimming.
- Adopting neurodiversity affirming language.
There are lots of helpful websites for parents to support them with understanding their child's neurodiversity.
- www.autismcentral.org.uk is designed for parents and carers and has some excellent resources and advice for families.
- www.autistica.org.uk is a supportive network that campaigns for families and autistic individuals in order for them to have happier, healthier and longer lives.
- www.beyondautism.org.uk is a site dedicated to supporting access to education and promoting opportunity and independence for autistic individuals.
- www.autisticgirlsnetwork.org is a brilliant site which advocates for autistic girls. Their aim is to raise awareness of autism in girls and others who present in an internal way with health, social care and educational professionals and to bring change. They also have useful resources for understanding dual diagnosis in girls autisticgirlsnetwork.org/audhd. There is a Facebook and twitter page which supports this network as well.
- www.bps.org.uk The British Psychological Society also has a number of useful articles around neurodiversity and finding support in your local area.