fb-pixel Neurodiversity Assembly | Senior School London | Mill Hill Schools


Neurodiversity Assembly

We were fortunate to welcome guest speaker, Gaye Kassir, in assembly who talked to us on the theme of neurodiversity – specifically autism.

To get us thinking and introduce the theme, Ms Kassir asked us to think, “what would the world be like if we were all the same? If we all ate the same food, listened to the same music, lived in exactly the same houses, drove the same cars etc”.

What is neurodiversity?

There is no ‘standard’ human brain against which all other human brains can be compared. On the contrary, the human brain is so complex that no two brains are exactly alike. The wide range of natural neurological variations of the brain affect the way that people think, learn and process information. Everyone has a differently wired brain and their own unique way of thinking, interacting and experiencing the world. Neurodiversity is based on the concept that neurological variances should be recognised and respected just like any other human variation, such as gender, race or sexual orientation. Some of the different ways of thinking, learning, interacting and perceiving the world have been given labels, such as: ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, Tourette Syndrome.

What is autism?

Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how people communicate and interact with the world around them. Autism is a spectrum condition and affects different people in different ways. Like all people, autistic people have their own strengths and weaknesses. Some people with autism are never diagnosed, others are diagnosed later in life.

Ms Kassir explained some of the challenges that autistic people face such as difficulties interpreting verbal and non-verbal language; finding it hard to form friendships; the need for fixed routines and over or under sensitivity to things like light and sound

Supporting someone with autism

Ms Kassir invited us to think about ways to support someone who has autism or shows autistic traits. Her key message was patience. She suggested looking for different ways to communicate, finding common ground, watching for worries, and explaining what’s happening. She told us to try to be a calming, comforting presence if someone appears distressed. Most importantly she told us to have fun together.