A manifesto for all minds

With elections just around the corner and campaigns in full swing, the team and I have been keeping a close eye as the parties release their manifestos.

I’ve been going straight to any proposed policies around learning difficulties, and it’s promising to see that this is becoming more prominent across the board.

Every mind matters. That’s why, in the lead up to the election campaigns, we decided to draw up our own manifesto. It was developed in the hope that we can strike important connections and open up opportunities and platforms for children, young people and their families to fulfil their full potential. It was also a chance for us to get some of our key goals down in writing and put the spotlight on neurodiversity in particular.

Our Neurodiversity Manifesto

We’re calling for political leaders to grasp the neurodiversity nettle, putting it at the heart of each of their proposed policies.

The following three asks were put to all parties:

Support for children and young people who are neurodivergent to learn, and to make a fully planned transition from school to adult life.

Support for young people who are neurodivergent to have their mental health and wellbeing prioritised.

Support for the families of neurodivergent children and young people when they need it.

You can read our full Neurodiversity Manifesto here.

Why is the term neurodiversity  so important, you may ask? It’s all-encompassing, inclusive and non-stigmatising. It relates to everyone and means no mind is left behind, and that’s why it is so important to our work and the children, young people and families we support, inform and empower every day.

A step in the right direction

With the arrival of the party manifestos, I am pleased to be able to say that our comments were taken on board by a number of the parties – one of which has even committed to having a Learning Disabilities, Autism and Neurodiversity Commissioner. It’s great to see that the team’s conversations have resulted in the proposed Commissioner remit being broadened to include Neurodiversity.

With the term neurodiversity making its way into the buildings where big decisions are made, I’m sure that the children, young people and families we work with will be pleased that their perspective is being given time and consideration. It gives us renewed confidence and excitement for what comes next and what we can achieve together.

And of course, it also brings us even closer of achieving our overall goal:

To become an internationally recognised centre of excellence in neurodiversity to help create a world in which no mind is left behind.

A big part of achieving this depends on policy makers, so knowing that a number of the parties are taking neurodiversity on board fills me with hope for the years ahead and excitement as we take the next steps on our journey.

What’s next for Salvesen Mindroom Centre?

With big goals, comes a lot of planning and throughout the first quarter, I’ll be working with the team and our Board of Trustees to devise our 3-year business plan. We’ll also be creating specific cultural and digital plans.

We will continue with our evidence-based research with our key partners at Salvesen Mindroom Research Centre. We’ll also be working in partnership with universities and research departments across Scotland and beyond to identify new joint working initiatives.

And we have a number of exciting digital resources on-route this year, so watch this space!

Whoever wins the election, I hope that we can continue having the important conversations around neurodiversity and can gain their support and help in bringing it to the masses.

In my next post I’ll be talking about our strategic direction for the next 5 years.

But until then, don’t forget to vote!

Alyson Miller
Chief Executive Officer