Celebrating Difference

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Graphic that says 'Celebrating Difference - Invisible Disabilities'

April is Autism Acceptance Month, a time when we focus on celebrating and raising awareness of the experiences of people with autism. It got us thinking about hidden disabilities and how challenging it can be for some of our students to feel welcome, and part of the Guild of Students and the University of Birmingham.

We thought why not celebrate difference all the time as we do during April and encourage understanding of the benefits of difference rather than viewing individuals by their conditions. There are many different hidden disabilities and forms of neurodivergence that mean people think differently. If we recognise and celebrate those differences, we can all learn and help each other. So, we’ve been working and partnering with the Happy Autistic Lady Ltd (HAL) to devise an Invisible disabilities campaign, to raise awareness and encourage understanding of the benefits of difference. HAL is a multi-award-winning marketing and consultancy business, committed to creating student spaces where neurodiversity is celebrated. And they also happen to be a member of the University's start-up incubator with a fully neurodivergent workforce, including three University of Birmingham Alumni.

We’ll be sharing information via posters, digital screens, social media and our e-newsletters over coming weeks, and making badges available to empower our University’s 5,000+ disabled and neurodivergent students to feel supported and proud of their identities. We hope the campaign will help improve support and understanding so that all of us can improve how we connect and communicate with each other.

The designer of the materials provided in this campaign is autistic and you’ll find information highlighting definitions, key statistics and how to respond or how not to respond when someone shares they are neurodivergent. There are also tips and suggestions to help make communications beneficial for all of us.

We’re keen to celebrate difference all year round and hope the campaign will help you to support and connect with each other in a positive way. Just scan the QR codes on our posters for even more ways of celebrating difference.

Examples of the differences covered by this campaign noting that this is not an exhaustive list:

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • ADHD
  • Bi-polar disorder
  • Down syndrome
  • Dyscalculia
  • Dysgraphia
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Sensory processing conditions
  • Tourette syndrome

There are six badges available which you’ll find at Guild reception and in University accommodation from early June, so we hope to see as many of you as possible wearing your badges with pride.

Dean Turner, Welfare and Community Officer and Aoife O’Driscoll-Paton, Disabled Students Officer



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