Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Neurodiversity Staff Network

Are you thinking about joining the network?

About the network

Neurodiversity Staff Network logo

The Neurodiversity Staff Support Network aims to support staff (including Doctoral Researchers, Faculty and Professional services) who identify with neurodivergence or are curious about neurodivergence. Neurodivergence sits across social identity and medical conditions that includes but is not limited to ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Dyscalculia.

The Network operates and meets predominantly through Microsoft Teams where staff are able to connect with each other, share helpful resources and provide peer support.

How to join

If you would like to join the staff network or would like further information about the network, please e-mail co-chairs Maria Bishop, Cécile Chevalier, and Darren Payne at ndstaffnetwork_admin@sussex.ac.uk.

Get involved

We invite members to volunteer for the organising committee/working group and organising, co-organising, leading on specific events. There are many ways to get involved in the sharing of your experiences in our monthly meeting or with the online forum (responding to enquiries with care), sharing events and resources, and much more or much less.

Central to the network ethos are care, respect, and listening from our different places and different capacities, rendering visible the difficulties that have been normalised and the strengths that are find in collectives.

Beyond the network community, co-chairs, working group/organising commitee and individuals seek to contribute to developing a neurodiverse environment in term of culture, infrastructures, and support for a more inclusive and diverse Sussex.

Seeking feedback on neurodiversity and inclusion

The Neurodiversity Staff Network is a place of support. Therefore, if neurodiversity and inclusion feedback is needed for other purposes (e.g. human resources, professional development, research, education, etc.), please consider how to approach our community. We would suggest organising specific workshops or forums, where information can be accessed in different modes, to generate discussion within a contained timeframe without requiring additional preparation for the members.

Please also be aware that being neurodiverse/neurodivergent often means we are already over-performing (e.g. given the additional time demands of getting support, self-advocacy, advocacy). How you choose to seek feedback matters.

Read more about neurodiversity

Addressing the question 'What is neurodiversity?', Cassandra Crosman said: “Ultimately, the medical model of disability looks to solve what is 'wrong' with a disabled person and tries to 'fix' it, while the social model of disability helps us to recognise the barriers that may prevent disabled people from full and active participation in society. What we can do as a society to help disabled people is by taking simple steps, such as changing our language usage when talking about disabled people to remove stigma attached to disabilities, and by changing our perceptions about disabled people by thinking about the things that we do that may prevent them from gaining accessibility and equality in society.

"The term and concept of neurodiversity was [Judy] Singer’s invention and vision two decades ago, but it has been largely ignored until recently. If we are a society that values equality and justice, then we must be a society that strives to embrace neurodiversity and acknowledge the ways in which neurodiverse people benefit our world”.

Brighton-based charity ADHD Aware defines neurodiversity thus: “Neurodiversity is a term that refers to the natural differences between people and was coined in the late 1990’s by Australian sociologist Judy Singer. It can be compared to terms such as race, culture, class and gender and is useful to describe people with varying characteristics and behaviours of neurodevelopmental conditions alongside the “neurotypical” [gaze and] majority in a non-prejudiced way”.

In a Harvard Medical School blog post, Nicole Baumer and Julia Frueh stated: "Neurodiversity describes the idea that people experience and interact with the world around them in many different ways; there is no one "right" way of thinking, learning, and behaving, and differences are not viewed as deficits…".

Writing on the website 'Neuroqueer', Dr Nick Walker writes: “Neurodiversity is not a political or social activist movement. That’s the Neurodiversity Movement …, not neurodiversity itself.” , “The Neurodiversity Movement is a social justice movement that seeks civil rights, equality, respect, and full societal inclusion for the neurodivergent”.

For further reading see the Neurodiversity Staff Network reading list.