5 Key Takeaways from the ‘Amplifying Neurodivergent Voices in Cambridge’ Event

19 June 2024

On the 7th June, the West Hub opened its doors to host ThinkLab’s ‘Amplifying Neurodivergent Voices in Cambridge’ event. There was a range of inspiring advice and personal insight from our panellists, which included a range of neurodivergent academics and professionals. These included partners from a variety of different sectors, including experts from University of Cambridge and University College London, and representatives from Google, Neurobox, The Willcox Collective, and the BBC.

The day-long event featured two panel sessions, group discussions, as well as lots of opportunities for networking. The event successfully met our goals for the day, facilitating open discussions and raising awareness to help drive positive change in attitudes towards neurodiversity. There was also some amazing commentary and questions from the audience. It was great to see so many passionate members of the community come together to celebrate neurodiversity and help facilitate open discussion about inclusive practices.

During the group discussion session, the conversation ranged from overcoming barriers in the workplace to how to build inclusive cultures. Below are some of the key takeaways from the day:

 

1. “We need to celebrate difference” 

Several panellists shared the business and the cultural benefits to having a neurodiverse team. Moving away from solely acceptance and encouraging celebration was highlighted as one way to challenge the narratives around neurodiversity that have previously been based on misconceptions.

 

2. “Believe what people say they need” 

Panellists who shared their experiences with pursuing a diagnosis spoke in depth about how acquiring a diagnosis is inaccessible and unattainable for many neurodivergent people. They talked about how their experiences of being invalidated can be isolating and may create more barriers to accessing support.

 

3. “Inclusive design is key”

Participants highlighted the importance of inclusive design practices to ensure that study spaces, workspaces and technology are accessible to everyone. They underscored the need for diverse perspectives to be a part of design processes from beginning to end.

 

4. “More lived experiences need to be shared”

Participants and panellists highlighted how valuable they found the opportunity to share their experiences with others in the community. They also noted how encouraging connection is often a first step to advocacy, as seen in the formation of BBC’s Enigma group (neurodiversity advocacy group).

 

5. “We need more of this!”

We thank all of our panellists and attendees for their thoughtful commentary. There was an overwhelmingly positive response to this event, and ThinkLab hopes to build on this work and to plan more events like this in future. Watch this space!