Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2023

 In News

Neurodiversity Celebration Week runs from the 13 – 19 of March worldwide and is about celebrating different thinking and empowering people with neurological differences.

This year, the week will carry the tagline ‘celebrating different minds’.

To mark the celebration, we reflect on our partnership with Action-attainment CIC, a Community Interest Company, based in Richmond supporting neurodiverse young people and their families across southwest London.

The Trust and Action-attainment work together on an array of programmes including On the Ball, designed by Action-attainment’s Founder and CEO Sam Silver. On the Ball includes adaptions to regular football coaching and parent workshops that build community and understanding of different minds.

Sam Silver comments, “I came to Brentford 20 years ago with a problem and a proposition. The problem was how we involve children with neurological differences in sports. The proposition was to form a working partnership with the Trust whereby Action-attainment would fundraise, recruit families and bring expert advisors to work with the Trust’s staff.

“Action-attainment’s approach includes working with occupational and speech and language therapists, finding the right group for each child before they join On the Ball. We work in partnership with the Trust to profile each child’s individual needs. Our partnership approach has been key to helping hundreds of families join in sport and learn how to take the child forward from a starting point that we know will create success.”

Neurodiversity Celebration Week was founded in 2018 and has since seen more than 2,600 schools, 200 universities, 1.4m students, 1,200 organisations, and 150 charities from around the world pledge their support for the campaign.

Recognising the importance of the week, Sam adds, “Neurodiversity Celebration Week has two aims – to celebrate and empower. To celebrate the incredible skills that different thinking can bring to us all and to empower people who are neurodiverse or support people who are neurodiverse. The partnership between Action-attainment and Brentford demonstrates how strategies such as simplifying language and using visual timetables can be empowering. We use sport to support neurodiverse people, to build communities and prevent isolation.”

The Trust offers a wide variety of sporting activities that are accessible and inclusive to people of all ages and abilities. The sessions delivered in partnership with Action-attainment are essential to helping neurodiverse children and adults overcome the obstacles that prevent families from enjoying sports.

Sam reflects, “It’s been an immense journey (with Brentford) and over the years we’ve worked with hundreds of children, schools and other community groups to try and explain that sometimes it’s a simple adjustment to how we speak or how we run a session that can make the difference between exclusion and inclusion for a child and their family.

“If we can help the family and child to understand inclusion strategies through sport, we can empower them for life. For me, the partnership with Action-attainment and Brentford through On the Ball is providing an amazing gift  to hundreds of children.”

Chris Tribe, Disability Projects Manager at Brentford FC Community Sports Trust adds, “Our partnership with Action-attainment has grown and developed immeasurably since it started 20 years ago. On the Ball is one of our largest Disability Programmes at the Trust, and highlights the power of working with partners and experts to deliver a really impactful support programme for the families that take part.

Neurodiversity Awareness week gives us a chance to reflect on and celebrate the work that we do, and also helps to motivate us to continue striving to increase and improve the scope of our projects.”

For more information about Neurodiversity Celebration Week and to see the schedule of free virtual events, click here.

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