Photo Credit: ©VisitBritain, Andrew Pickett

A global conference advancing insights into neurodiversity is to be hosted in Edinburgh next spring. It Takes All Kinds Of Minds – ITAKOM – will bring together HR professionals, practitioners, academics, the care sector and families, all providing insights into how better to understand and celebrate people’s differences and provide effective support where needed.

HR specialists will learn how to cultivate and support a neurodiverse workforce. Clinicians will explore how neurodiversity appears in our genes and brain cells and the implications for diagnosis health and daily life.

ITAKOM will profile the work of more than 50 speakers from around the world including experts on neurodiversity in the workplace, neuroscientists, clinicians and comedians, among them Edinburgh’s satirical impressionist Rory Bremner, a neurodiversity advocate after being diagnosed with ADHD.

The international event, on March 13 and 14, aims to foster a better understanding of all neurodevelopmental conditions and help to create more inclusive schools, workplaces and communities.

Academics will examine current challenges and the need for greater inclusivity. Community sessions will help delegates develop a deeper understanding of neurodiversity through a range of voices from every facet of life.

Photo Credit: Edinburgh CVB

Alan Thornburrow

Chief Executive Officer

The event, both in-person and virtual, is organised by Scotland charity Salvesen Mindroom Centre whose Chief Executive Officer Alan Thornburrow says: “With 15-20% of the global population estimated to be neurodivergent, it has never been more important for us to understand more about neurodiversity and how we can design better and more inclusive systems.”

“By partnering with Mindroom and championing neuroinclusion in the workplace, delegates can demonstrate their commitment as an organisation that is genuinely seeking to make progress. Not only do we see neurodiversity in the workplace population, but equally with parents and carers of neurodivergent young people. By supporting employees, employers can make a tangible and positive impact on staff and their families.”

He argues that “diversity of thought needs to become much more central to business strategy – in the same way, that issues like gender equality and mental health have become integrated over the last decade. Embracing neurodiversity is key to that. It takes all kinds to solve the biggest problems of our time. By working together, we can help employers build a person-centred approach in which neurodiversity is embraced and no mind is left behind.”

Photo Credit: Edinburgh CVB

Workplace sessions will include the following:

– Creative Careers – Lotta Borg Skoglund, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Uppsala University, Sweden on ‘ADHD in the Workplace’ and Charlotte Garnett, Anti-Anxiety jewellery designer on ‘Handling It’ her own experience as a successful entrepreneur
– Neurodiversity and the Law – Mandy Lawrie, Head of Employment Division at Burness Paull LLP
– Diversity in Neurodiversity – Dr Nick Walker, one of the world-leading thinkers on neurodiversity and a Professor of Psychology at California Institute of Integral Studies, USA, on the parallels between the neurodiversity movement and other rights-based social justice movements
– ADHD & Me – Rory Bremner on how ADHD has shaped his life and work
– Employer Panel – Chaired by Mindroom with panellists from the organisation’s Neuroinclusion at Work programme who will share their journey around approaches to neurodiversity in the workplace

For more information on ITAKOM and neurodiversity in the workplace go to https://itakom.org/workplace/

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