Choosing to challenge

On 18th March, I had the privilege of speaking to the Edrington Group for their International Women’s Day event. This year, the global theme was Choose to Challenge and for Edrington’s take, myself and the other speakers were asked to discuss how leaders who care about gender equity can sharpen their thinking and make inclusion a reality.

During the process of writing my speech, I couldn’t help but link the theme to our work. A huge part of who we are and what we do is about challenging perceptions, procedures and policy.

Facing challenges every day

The children, young people and families we work with know all about challenges. Challenges to be heard, to get the support they need and in accessing the opportunities that should be available for all.

Challenge is behind everything we do. It motivates and strengthens our purpose and pushes us in turn to challenge others in the aim of making sure no mind is left behind.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week

Thanks to the creation of Neurodiversity Celebration week, which ran from 15th-21st March this year, there has been plenty of discussion and activity around identifying challenges and promoting opportunities for everyone. 

What I especially value is the inclusion of ‘Celebration’. It goes beyond awareness promoting the value of diversity and encouraging people to act or make changes in the way they support those with learning difficulties. 

1 in 5 people are neurodivergent. And it can be these very people who find that their potential is being threatened by the stigmas associated with having a learning difficulty. It’s especially important to combat this at an early age through informing, supporting and empowering. That way, we can focus on the strengths possessed by children and young people with learning difficulties, from creativity to problem solving, or out-of-the-box thinking – the list goes on.

That’s where we come in, filling knowledge gaps, calling out the bias, breaking down barriers, raising awareness in education, increasing the availability and quality of additional support and paving the way for a world where difference is understood, and more importantly, valued.

Planning our 21st Anniversary has allowed the team to reflect on how far we’ve come in promoting neurodiversity. By collaborating with others with a common goal, we’ve helped families find their voice and a platform to be heard and taken seriously as they work to live life the way they deserve. There’s still a long way to go, but we’re here to take on the challenge.

Watch this space.

Another challenge on the horizon

I’ll be grabbing my tartan and clocking up the miles by joining Team Mindroom in this year’s Kiltwalk. As with everything at the moment, the fundraising challenge is virtual this year. But it’s more important than ever with many local charities funding efforts taking a real hit in the pandemic.

There will certainly be a spring in my step knowing that every penny raised will help us support more children, young people and their families. Follow our journey and donate here.

Alyson Miller
Chief Executive Officer