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NEWS & MEDIA

Neurodiversity Celebration Week at ISB
A collage of photos of Neurodiversity Week activities

By Nick Yates, ISB Communications

The International School of Beijing (ISB) has held its first Neurodiversity Celebration Week, honoring all the learning profiles and thinking styles that are part of an inclusive community.

Neurodiversity refers to a world where neurological differences are recognized and respected just like other human variations. The term is commonly used to describe alternative thinking styles such as Dyslexia, Autism, ADHD, Dyspraxia, and Dyscalculia. ISB welcomes people of all nationalities, ethnicities, and cultures – and people whose brains work in different ways.

Infographic of facts and figures related to neurodiversity at ISB

The school is dedicated to teaching young people with a wide range of language experiences, social-emotional skills, and academic development. Faculty and staff here embrace and value all students’ contributions to the school, their diversity strengthening the community and empowering everyone in it with greater compassion and purpose. ISB is very well equipped to provide learning support, and started the Life Centered Education (LCE) program in 2020-2021 for students with intellectual/cognitive learning disabilities.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week was held at ISB from March 18 to 22. Activities included:

  • Crazy Socks Day in recognition of World Down Syndrome Day
  • A parent coffee morning with ISB’s learning support team
  • A baking class for parents with staff from a local bakery run by differently abled adults supporting differently abled orphans
  • Performances by a visiting band composed of neurodiverse individuals from a local day center
  • Discussion in a WeChat group for ISB parents and community members interested in support and information on neurodiversity

ISB has a Mission statement and Strategic Focus Areas that define its values and priorities. Neurodiversity is an important part of the commitment to provide challenging and joyful learning for ALL learners, as well as the commitment to foster peer relationships across lines of difference.

LCE, the only school program of its kind in Beijing, is set up so that students are integrated to the maximum extent appropriate in classes with peers of the same age. As LCE has become established as a part of ISB, its students have formed relationships across their grades. This system promotes understanding of neurodiversity among all learners.

A collage of photos of students engaging in a design activity
Students in the Life Centered Education program joined other students in a design activity recently

“ISB has a growth mindset around learning support,” said one ISB parent. “The school has made a huge investment in learning support, and it shines especially in the intensive needs program where my son finds access to education. He would not be able to attend another international school in Beijing or even in most schools in my home country because of the level of support he requires. Supporting him is a process that grows and changes as his teachers continually pursue the best methods and professional training to give his class the next level of learning and success.

“Neurodiversity Celebration Week was a part of that ongoing effort – to show how different brains and ways of thinking are a part of our community, emphasizing the richness this brings to our school and world, learning how we can understand and support each other in new ways.”

 

Ensuring challenging and joyful learning for ALL students is among three main Strategic Focus Areas for ISB. After a consultation to establish what ISB families value most, these Strategic Focus Areas were drafted to consolidate ISB’s efforts and resources around what’s most important. This news article is part of a series looking at aspects of ISB that are examples of the three Focus Areas. Click here to learn more about the Strategic Focus Areas, or here to learn more about neurodiversity.

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