Increasing neurodiversity awareness through a community of practice
Keywords:neurodiversity, neurodivergence, resource bank, community of practice, resource, resources
During this wildcard session, we will present the journey of the ALDinHE Neurodiversity/Inclusivity Community of Practice (CoP) up to the present time and invite new members to join. This will include why the CoP was set up, what we have achieved during our two years of meetings, and the exciting future work of the group in relation to increasing awareness of neurodiversity through a resource bank to be hosted on the ALDinHE website. Participants will also have the opportunity to reflect on their knowledge of neurodiversity, their institution’s training on neurodiversity and how they might benefit from access to additional training and/or resources.
An awareness of neurodiversity is important for all educators as there has been an increase in the number of neurodivergent students accessing Higher Education (HE) in recent years (HESA, 2022). One of the main reasons behind this increase is the Widening Participation (WP) initiatives of institutions (Office for Students, 2022). Additionally, under the Equality Act 2010, institutions are legally obligated to create inclusive learning environments for their students from the outset (Equality Challenge Unit, 2010), and this emphasis has increased since Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) funding for certain individual reasonable adjustments was removed (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, 2014).
Communities of Practice are ‘socially configured spaces that necessarily involve learning as an aspect of membership’ (Tummons, 2018, p.4). Through provocation, discussions and the analysis of lived experience, the Neurodiversity/Inclusivity CoP members have gained valuable insights and enhanced their knowledge leading to a more developed practice; we invite you to do the same during this session.
BIS (2014) Higher education: student support: changes to Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA).Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/higher-education-student-support-changes-to-disabled-students-allowances-dsa (Accessed: 2 March 2023).
Equality Challenge Unit (2010) Managing reasonable adjustments in higher education. Available at: https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/assets.creode.advancehe-document-manager/documents/ecu/managing-reasonable-adjustments-in-higher-education_1578587125.pdf (Accessed: 2 March 2023).
HESA (2022) Table 15 – UK domiciled student enrolments by disability and sex 2014/15 to 2020/21. Available at: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/table-15 (Accessed: 2 March 2023)
OfS (2022a) Our approach to access and participation. Available at: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/promoting-equal-opportunities/our-approach-to-access-and-participation/ (Accessed: 20 December 2022).
Tummons, J. (2018). Learning architectures in higher education: Beyond communities of practice. UK: Bloomsbury.
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