21st – 27th March is Neurodiversity Celebration Week, and at Pathcarvers we are celebrating our neurodivergent members. My name is Sarah and I am the Equality and Inclusion Champion at Pathcarvers.
What is Neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity describes how people experience and interact with the world around them in many different ways; there is no one “right” way of thinking, learning, and behaving, so differences should not be not viewed as deficits.
Neurodivergent people experience, interact with, and interpret the world in unique and individual ways and acceptance of that can help reduce stigma around learning and thinking differences. There are different types of neurodiversity. Some people are born neurodivergent – Autism, dyslexia, ADD, Dyspraxia are just a few form of neurodiversity. Some people acquire a form of neurodivergence through trauma, injury or illness
What is Neurodiversity Celebration Week?
Neurodiversity Celebration Week is a worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences. It aims to transform how neurodivergent individuals are perceived and supported by providing schools, universities, and organisations with the opportunity to recognise the many talents and advantages of being neurodivergent, while creating more inclusive and equitable cultures that celebrate differences and empower every individual.
I have acquired neurodiversity due to a traumatic brain injury 25 years ago. I perceive and process things differently to before my accident and over time adapted to this. It means sometimes I may need a little extra time to think through an answer, or work out how I’m going to do something, and sometimes I am unable to think of, or say, a specific word. If you ever do a course with us at Pathcarvers, ask me about oranges.
One of our carvers is dyslexic and says creativity has no rules. “Coming through education there was such a failure stigma because I didn’t do something in the same format or as quickly as others. Spooncarving is hands on (no reading or writing, yay!) and having the freedom to see where the wood takes me it very liberating. It has an order I can relate to, and no pressure on how long it takes. The spoon is done when it’s done”.
A piece of wood never carves the same as another piece, even if they’re from the same tree. Each piece has to be considered and carved in a way that both works with the wood, and helps us get to the desired finished article. I think it’s one of the reasons I find spoon carving so therapeutic, because it’s such a personal journey how individuals interact with and process the wood. There’s always the safe way to carve, but within that no right or wrong way to decide what a piece of wood will become. In fact sometimes, it just about making woodchips.
So please join us as we celebrate and embrace each other’s differences. It would be a very boring world if our spoons were all the same.
If you would like to talk about anything raised in this post and are looking for support, please send us message at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will point you in the right direction