One in seven UK adults are neurodivergent, but neurodiversity awareness is something that is still rarely discussed in public. There is much more to be done to support the lives of neurodivergent individuals and build understanding in our local communities.
One charity working at the forefront of this challenge is ARCS. Operating primarily in Lambeth, one of King’s home boroughs, ARCS works to support parents, carers, young people and professionals affected by ADHD and other neurological conditions.
Collaboration between ARCS and King’s started when the charity won the Education and Attainment award at the King’s Civic Challenge 2020/21, receiving £5,000 of funding for their project entitled ‘A New ADHD Perspective: What we should all know’. Like all projects on the Civic Challenge, the idea ARCS presented was co-created by the charity and King’s students and staff, with several members of the team from King’s staying on as volunteers to make it a reality.
Getting to know everyone in ARCS has been a pleasure. Working with ARCS was an experience that allowed me to work in a multidisciplinary team while contributing towards a meaningful project that could change neurodiverse children's lives.– King’s College London student from the ARCS team
The project has now delivered a unique ADHD educational film project, co-produced with neurodiverse secondary school students in Lambeth. The video aims to help neurodiverse pupils develop their voices, while empowering them to be heard in their school community. The film is available to watch on YouTube, with plans to present it to ARCS’s stakeholder groups in the coming months, before a rollout in Lambeth schools.
Preliminary research by ARCS suggest that the video has aided in both building ADHD pupils’ understanding of their own condition and other pupils’ understanding of what fellow students go through on a day-to-day basis.
It gave me personally a sense of belonging and I felt like I was truly making a change in the Lambeth community.– King’s College London student from the ARCS team
This isn’t the only work that King’s and ARCS have completed together. As part of Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2022, ARCS collaborated with the KCL Neurodiversity and Mental Health Society to produce the student-led Celebrating Neurodiversity display outside the Great Hall on our Strand Campus.
Inspired by King’s pre-existing friezes ‘Meet the Professors’ and the ‘Wall of BAME’, the display stresses both the challenges that neurodivergent individuals face at King’s and the sense of belonging that King’s aims to offer them. It includes contributions from students and staff, as well as members of the professional services teams. The pilot display is no longer in place, however the KCL Neurodiversity and Mental Health Society are now working with the King’s EDI Team to produce it as a permanent installation at the Strand.
We hope the journeys and voices this wall represents demonstrate to the King’s community and beyond that this is a place where neurodivergent people can, and should, belong.– Poppy Ellis Logan and Zoë Grisedale-Sherry, Co-Presidents, Neurodiversity and Mental Health Society
The profiles in this display were written in the first or third person based on individual preferences, and edited by Poppy Ellis Logan. All other content within the display was written by Poppy Ellis Logan, edited by James Tortise-Crawford. For more information, or to get involved with this project, contact email@example.com