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Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2021

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Neurodiversity week was founded by Siena Castellon, a student with SEN who understands how difficult it can be being a neurodiverse student.

The aim of the week is to encourage education settings to recognise the strengths of their autistic, dyslexic, dyspraxic and ADHD students.

You can read an introduction from Siena in the link below.


Across the week we will be sharing information and resources to help parents, carers, children and young people learn more about Neurodiversity and the different areas Neurodiversity includes.

What is Neurodiversity?

Most people are neurotypical, meaning that the brain functions and processes information in the way society expects. However, it is estimated that around 1 in 7 people (more than 15% of people in the UK) are neurodivergent, meaning that the brain functions, learns and processes information differently.

The term neurodiversity usually refers to the range of neurological differences including:

  • Autism
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD) also referred to as Dyspraxia
  • Specific Learning Differences  e.g Dyslexia, Dyscalculia.


What is Autism?

Autism is a lifelong neurological disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world.

Autism is a spectrum condition and affects people in different ways. Like all people, autistic people have their own strengths and weaknesses

Autistic people may have difficulties with the following:

  • find it hard to communicate and interact with other people
  • find it hard to understand how other people think or feel
  • find things like bright lights or loud noises overwhelming, stressful or uncomfortable
  • get anxious or upset about unfamiliar situations and social events
  • take longer to understand information
  • do or think the same things over and over

Autism is not an illness

Being autistic does not mean you have an illness or disease. It means your brain works in a different way from other people.

It’s something you’re born with or first appears when you’re very young.

If you’re autistic, you’re autistic your whole life.

Autism is not a medical condition with treatments or a “cure”. But some people need support to help them with certain things.

Click here to find more information about Autism from the NHS.

Services in Portsmouth that can provide support for Autistic children and young people and their families

Autism Hampshire – For adults, young people and children on the autism spectrum, and their parents, carers and professionals. Lines are open: Mon to Thurs 09:00 – 17:00 and Fri 09:00 T: 02380 766162. E:  Autism Hampshire Website

Portsmouth Autism Assessment ServiceOverview – Portsmouth Autism Assessment Service (Cdc) – NHS (

Enable Ability Autism Support – Call 02393 671846

Hampshire Autism Support Services for Adults Hampshire Autism Service for Adults > Portsmouth Local Offer



Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ( ADHD)

Specific Learning Difficulties ( Dyscalculia and Dyslexia/difficulties with reading and spelling)

Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD)/Dyspraxia

Portsmouth’s Neurodiversity Project.

Nearly all children/young people with neurodevelopmental differences will experience some difficulty with their needs due to stereotyping of symptoms and a long waiting list for an NHS CAMHS appointment. The Neurodiversity approach aims to solve these three issues via an individualised approach that moves away from common labels like Autism and ADHD while implementing early interventions which are specific for the child/young person in question. This approach also wants to support 2 other types of children/young people. Those who may not show obvious neurodevelopmental symptoms and those children who may not reach the threshold/cut off point for a neurodevelopmental diagnosis.

To support these children, the research team has produced a detailed manual which uses a child development profile to create an individualised treatment plan. This profile is separated via 9 distinct sub-sections which include:

  • Attention and Impulse Control
  • Cognitive Abilities
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Energy
  • Motor Skills
  • Speech and Language
  • Adaptability and Flexibility
  • Systemising vs Empathising
  • Sensory

This profile will help inform people of where the child/young person strengths and difficulties are and will direct everyone to appropriate support techniques and adjustments recommended in the resource section. This is intended to be an additional step in the already established Neuro Development Pathway in Portsmouth NHS CAMHS.

Currently, the research team is conducting a pilot study on the use of this approach to see if it is practical and useful for Carer(s)/Parent(s), Children/young people and professionals. This research pilot will provide vital information to the team on areas where the approach can be improved, and if possible if Portsmouth NHS CAMHS can adopt the approach.

Neurodiversity Resource Pack.

As Part of the project the team behind the project have pulled together a resource pack.

Click here to read the latest update from the Neurodiversity Pathway Team

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