More than 600 parents and teachers have signed up for free events on supporting children and young people who are neurodiverse.

Demand for the event on Monday, May 29, has been so high that organiser Aberdeen Inspired have moved it to a larger space at Robert Gordon College, and added an online option, which is also now fully subscribed.

Entitled ‘Supporting Your Neurodiverse Child: Strategies for Parents and Carers’, the event will cover a variety of topics, including parenting strategies to create a neurodiverse friendly home and how to raise academic attainment for the one in five pupils who are neurodiverse.

The event is being sponsored by North Sea operator CNR International.

Anyone who did not manage to secure a slot can sign up for the Neurodiversity in the Workplace - Unlocking Potential and Driving Innovation conference being held the following day, Tuesday May 30.

Both events are being held to support the return of the popular ADHD Foundation Umbrella Project to Aberdeen.

Strings of coloured umbrellas will once again be seen across the city from the end of May until September, in celebration of the ‘umbrella’ term of neurodiversity, which includes ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyspraxia.

Roulè Wood, Business Engagement Manager at Aberdeen Inspired, said: “The phenomenal demand for the sessions for parents and carers is unprecedented and really shows how much need there is for help and resources to support children who are neurodiverse.

“We are also looking forward to supporting businesses and helping them to understand how best to work with colleagues who are neurodiverse, and the benefits a diverse workforce can have on your bottom line.”

With 1 in 5 people being neurodivergent, 1 in 67 on the autistic spectrum, 1 in 20 with ADHD or dyspraxia and 1 in 10 with dyslexia, many people have a combination of these differences in how humans process and interact with their environment and the people around them.

Barry Duncan, Managing Director at sponsor CNR International, said: “As a major employer in Aberdeen, we understand the value of an inclusive workforce and the benefits that different skills and approaches to problem-solving bring. We are pleased to be supporting the event for parents and teachers and empowering and enabling the next generation of children and young people.”

Sponsored by Harbour Energy and TMM Recruitment, the one-day conference will be held at the Douglas Hotel on Market Street, next to the installation of coloured umbrellas on Shiprow.

Comedian Joe Wells, known for his viral clip about the struggles of having a non-autistic brother, will give an insight into his experience of neurodiversity and how this has contributed to his success.

The line-up of speakers and contributors for the conference also includes Dr Tony Lloyd, chief executive of the ADHD Foundation, Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, and Professor Amanda Kirby, chief executive of Do-It Solutions and chair of the ADHD Foundation, who will discuss the use of web-based screening tools in the workplace.

Angela Prentner-Smith, Founder and Managing Consultant at This is Milk, a Scottish consultancy, training, and technology business, will discuss how maintaining a psychologically safe workplace is part of ensuring you are not just diverse, but fostering a place where everyone can flourish.

Mavis Anagboso, Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at principal sponsor Harbour Energy, will talk about the company’s strategies for supporting staff who are neurodiverse, while Charlotte Valeur, chair of the Institute of Neurodiversity, will explore the power of ND networks and share practical advice for business.

Amanda McCulloch, Chief Executive of Aberdeen-based TMM Recruitment, will be discussing inclusive recruiting practices with a panel of local and national experts.

An episode of the podcast ‘ADHD As Females’, which has had 500,000 downloads in 182 countries, will also be recorded at the conference.

The official Shiprow umbrella installation will join numerous private installations organised by businesses, schools and other organisations, including P&J Live at TECA.

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates, a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district.

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