We need you: How neurodivergent people are key to future innovation and positive change

Black writing across a white background reads "Neurodiversity Celebration Week, March 13-19, 2023, www.neurodiversityweek.com'. To the left of the writing is an image of a lightbulb with a colourful brain inside it.

Did you know that one in eight Australians are neurodivergent? 

From workplaces, schools, sporting clubs and more, neurodivergent people are always present in our community – which is why it’s important we make a commitment to understand and respect them. 

What is neurodiversity? 

A neurodivergent person is a person whose brain differs, or diverges, from the brains of the majority of the population. A neurodivergent brain thinks, moves, processes information, and communicates in unique and different ways. 

The term neurodiversity is often considered an umbrella term for many alternative thinking styles including ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Dyscalculia. 

For some, the term is considered to include any type of mind that diverges from dominant societal norms, standards and expectations and incorporates further experiences such as OCD, C-PTSD, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and more. 

It’s important to use the term neurodiversity rather than labelling people with deficits or disorders, as neurodivergent people bring so many unique talents and strengths to the table. 

Celebrating Neurodiversity Week 

This Neurodiversity Week, we’d like to acknowledge that our neurodivergent employees are a huge asset to our organisation and we celebrate the array of strengths they bring to their roles. These can include creativity, ‘out of the box thinking’, perceptiveness, attention to detail, innovativeness, efficiency, thriving under pressure, pattern recognition and so much more. 

Even if two people share the same diagnosis, no two neurodivergent people are the same and each have unique and different profiles and strengths. Often, many neurodivergent people will have more than one diagnosis that falls under the umbrella of neurodiversity. 

It’s important to take a person-centred approach and tailor strategies to each individual neurodivergent person. At Monash Health, we are committed to the inclusivity and radical acceptance of our neurodivergent employees and patients and are excited to ensure their voices inform our upcoming Disability Strategy and Action Plan 2023-27. 

Many ‘challenges’ experienced by neurodivergent people are a direct result of trying to live in an environment and navigate systems designed by a majority population that do not accommodate their differing needs. 

Neurodivergent individuals bring so much value to the world. So many life-changing inventions, breakthroughs, works of art and real-world change and advocacy credited to the neurodiverse, including Alan Turin, Emily Dickinson, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, and Greta Thunberg.  

In addition, many research findings and medical breakthroughs at our own health service can be attributed to our wonderful and talented neurodivergent employees. 

We always have, and always will, continue to benefit from different thinkers. #ThisisND