Thatcham's Parsons Down Partnership of Schools celebrates Neurodiversity week
PUPILS at Parsons Down School celebrated the strengths of neurodiverse learners with a series of events last month.
Children at the school partnership participated in Neurodiversity Celebration Week to find out about learning differences, such as dyslexia, autism and ADHD.
The children watched videos of famous people talking about their learning differences and how they had overcome difficulties to be successful.
Staff and children heard inspirational stories from some of the Parsons Down pupils who learn differently to others, sharing their own experiences and explaining how it feels to come up against challenges in their learning.
The infant and junior schools wore their brightest colours to celebrate difference on March 16, and children took part in inclusion and empathy activities.
The events were designed to show that people should not judge someone by their performance on a test.
Class discussions asked questions about how children felt during an activity, whether it was a fair playing field and how someone with limitations might feel.
Pupils then had the opportunity to share some of the things they are good at and some of the things they struggle with.
Each class decorated umbrellas, a symbol for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), during the week.
They included pledges about neurodiverse positives and how the school community will always see their potential.
Families were asked to make a voluntary donation of £1 per child to local charity Swings & Smiles.
The charity provides play facilities and support to children and families with special educational needs and disability (SEND) at its facility in Lower Way.
Many families whose children attend Parsons Down have accessed the support the charity offers and the school has raised £249 so far.
Children also watched videos of neurodiverse people who have everyday jobs and created posters with information about dyslexia, autism and ADHD.
Deputy headteachers Lynda Shepherd and Julie Lewry said “The week was filled with fun, but with a very important message.
“At Parsons Down we are committed to fostering an inclusive, positive and nurturing environment for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities.
“In order to empower SEND students to flourish, we must not only support them with what they cannot do but should recognise, nurture and celebrate the many strengths and talents of being neurodiverse.
“We are very proud of our inclusive school community and the way our pupils accept difference and inspire each other every day.”