Neurodiversity Movement in Science

I am glad I was able to attend this event. UNSW, BABSOC, and the panellists were very generous to allow non-UNSW members to be a party to it.

The acknowledgement of country was simple, with participants being invited to share where they were joining the seminar from. I like this; the land we call Australia was never ceded, and the “normalisation” of this acknowledgement is good allyship, IMHO.

The panel was a combination of academic experts and experts-by-experience, one of whom was a student. The other was an alumnus who graduated, worked elsewhere for several years, and now works with the UNSW Disability (Student) Services Team. Each panellist was given a comfortable amount of time to talk, and the respect for each other’s views and voices made this one of the better events I have attended. It was not a series of people speaking into the void, one after the other, but a facilitated conversation and exchange of ideas.

There were two things, in particular, I have taken away from the seminar that is now part of my personal toolkit:

  • Explaining Neurodiversity through a parallel to Biodiversity – this is one of those concepts that is so… elegantly simple… once it is put before you. As “not a biologist” though, it is a connection I had not made before. All over the “team diversity” and “workplace skills” diversity” analogies, but I like this one too. It was a real “Ahhh!” moment when I heard it.
  • That there is research into “Autistic Burnout” confirming that environmental factors, the navigation of spaces and systems designed for neurotypical people, and the requirement to mask or camoflage autism all contribute to this. It is not the autism itself that is the, or the only, factor in play.

It was the first time I have been at an event using Teams, and I found it a bit clunky. To be fair, I was not a member of the organisation hosting the event so the experience of account holders within the organisation may have been different. The facilitators did an excellent job of allowing outsiders to participate in the chat – if you figured out your only method of participation as an outsider was to “Ask a Question”. I could also “like” other peoples comments – which is something not possible on any other platform I have used so far and that was rather cool.

Overall, very impressed with this seminar and appreciative of the opportunity to participate.


Resources recommended for event participation:

The seminar was recorded and has been made available via Youtube:

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