Search is excited to announce the launch of NeurodiVERSED, a new self-advocate driven awareness initiative. NeurodiVERSED, an Evanston Cultural Grant Fund project, was born from the need to create a platform for individuals with disabilities and mental health conditions to share their voices and further the movement toward inclusion, equity, and neurodiversity.
Neurodiversity is a concept developed within the autism community to describe the wide variance in how people with autism think, communicate, learn, and experience the world around them. This term has since expanded to include people with developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, fetal alcohol syndrome, and other developmental disabilities. It also encompasses people who identify as having mental health conditions such as, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and more.
The core concept of neurodiversity is that there is no right or wrong way to think, learn, communicate, and experience the world around you. All humans fall on a continuum of neurological functioning and benefit from a wider community acceptance of intellectual differences. This message is at the heart of NeurodiVERSED with the goal of destigmatizing open and honest conversations about disability and mental health with the individuals who experience them.
NeurodiVERSED is unique in that it is led by self-advocates who share their lived experiences of neurodiversity in our NeurodiVOICED video profiles. Each month we will feature a different NeurodiVOICED profile, NeurodiVERSED educational materials on the disability or mental health condition the featured individual has chosen to share about, and some of their artwork.
Our first NeurodiVOICED profile features Katy W., a woman with cerebral palsy. Katy is a strong self-advocate who works in the community and loves to travel. In her profile she shares her experiences traveling the world, how she deals with issues of accessibility, her positive outlook on life, and her passion for art.