Neurodiversity forum marks return of the Umbrella Project

Over 600 parents and teachers have registered for free events aimed at supporting neurodiverse children and youth, prompting the relocation of the opening event to a larger venue due to high demand.

Neurodiversity forum marks return of the Umbrella Project
Picture by Michal Wachucik/Abermedia

In a heartening display of community engagement, over 600 parents and teachers have signed up for free events that support neurodiverse children and young people. And the city will soon see the return of its popular displays of coloured umbrellas.

The demand for the opening event on 29 May has been overwhelming. Organiser, Aberdeen Inspired, had to relocate it to a larger venue at Robert Gordon College.

Empowering parents

‘Supporting Your Neurodiverse Child’ will cover topics empowering parents with tools and techniques to help. Participants can expect insights into parenting strategies that foster a neurodiverse-friendly home environment. There is also guidance on raising academic achievement for the one in five pupils who identify as neurodiverse.

For those unable to secure a slot, there is another opportunity to engage with the subject matter. The following day there is the option to attend the Neurodiversity in the Workplace – Unlocking Potential and Driving Innovation conference. Both events have been organised to coincide with the return of the widely acclaimed ADHD Foundation Umbrella Project to Aberdeen.

Return of umbrella project

And soon, the city will be adorned with strings of coloured umbrellas. These symbolise the diversity encompassed by the umbrella term “neurodiversity.” This term includes ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyspraxia. The one-day conference will be held at the Douglas Hotel on Market Street. Right beside the Shiprow installation of coloured umbrellas.

The conference boasts an impressive lineup of speakers and contributors. Comedian Joe Wells will share his unique perspective. He is known for his viral clip shedding light on the challenges of having a non-autistic sibling. Dr Tony Lloyd of the ADHD Foundation, Adrian Watson of Aberdeen Inspired, and Professor Amanda Kirby of Do-It Solutions and Chair of the ADHD Foundation, will also lend their expertise to the discussion.

The power of neurodiversity networks

Attendees can look forward to discussions on topics such as web-based screening tools in the workplace, maintaining safe environments, strategies for supporting neurodiverse staff, and the power of neurodiversity networks. In addition, there’ll be a live recording of the podcast ‘ADHD As Females.’ This brilliant show has garnered an impressive 500,000 downloads across 182 countries.

While the official Shiprow umbrella installation will be a sight to behold, various businesses, schools, and organisations, including P&J Live at TECA, will also host private displays, adding their support for neurodiversity in the community.

Understanding and inclusivity

Roulè Wood from Aberdeen Inspired, said: “The phenomenal demand for the sessions for parents and carers is unprecedented and really shows how much need there is for help and resources to support children who are neurodiverse. We are also looking forward to supporting businesses and helping them to understand how best to work with colleagues who are neurodiverse”

These events provide an incredible opportunity for parents, educators, and professionals to gather, share knowledge, and create an environment where neurodiverse individuals can thrive. The city is paving the way for a more accepting and supportive society by fostering understanding and inclusivity.