Recognizing and Celebrating Neurodiversity at the Lab
We’re happy to highlight a new initiative in our lab community – the Neurodiversity Working Group (NWG), part of the AllAccess Employee Resource Group (ERG). This group is committed to enhancing our understanding of neurodiversity, fostering a supportive network for neurodivergent lab employees, and advocating for inclusive policies that aid in the hiring and retention of neurodivergent individuals.
Neurodiversity acknowledges the natural diversity of human brains, recognizing the value of cognitive differences. This terminology encompasses every brain’s differences, and also gives space to describe the differences in the brains of “neurodivergent” people. Neurodivergence describes specifically the differences in the brains of individuals with neurodivergent conditions such as autism, ADHD, learning disorders, OCD, and others. Embracing neurodiversity means valuing the unique perspectives and problem-solving approaches of neurodivergent individuals, while understanding their experiences can be largely shaped by their neurotype.
NWG’s Formation and Leadership
The NWG, led by Hannah Parrilla (NSD), Melissa Romanus (NERSC), Hannah Ross (NERSC), and Jean Sexton (CCSE), emerged from a collective effort to support neurodiversity. These leaders aim to represent the neurodiverse makeup of our lab and lead the way in celebrating neurodiversity.
Goals and Initiatives
The NWG is focused on three main goals:
- Celebrating Neurodiversity: Raising awareness about neurodivergent experiences and hosting educational events to foster an inclusive, understanding workplace.
- Building a Supportive Network: Creating a community for neurodivergent lab employees to share experiences, access resources, and support personal and professional development.
- Influencing Policy: Advocating for inclusive hiring practices and policies that support the career advancement of neurodivergent staff.
The establishment of the NWG is a progressive step towards recognizing the contributions of neurodivergent individuals in science. It aims to cultivate a diverse and inclusive culture that celebrates the unique skills and perspectives of all members.
We invite everyone to engage with the NWG, participate in their initiatives, and support their mission to make our division a leader in embracing neurodiversity in science.
Figure 1: A logo to celebrate the Neurodiversity Working Group.