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Neuro-Inclusion in Public Participation: A Vital Step Toward Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

24 Apr 2024 12:49 PM | Anonymous

IAP2 Canada's recent research paper, conducted by Guthrie & Kroiss, dives into how public participation processes can be more inclusive for people with diverse cognitive abilities. In a world striving for fairness and inclusiveness, it's essential that public engagement efforts truly reflect the diversity of our communities. This research sheds light on practical ways to ensure everyone's voice can be heard, especially those of neurodivergent individuals.

What is Neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity is the idea that everyone's brain works in unique ways. This concept includes people who think, learn, and interact with the world in what's considered typical ways (neurotypical) and those who have differences like Autism, ADHD, Tourette’s, and Dyslexia (neurodivergent). The paper emphasizes seeing these differences not as issues to be fixed but as part of the rich variety of human minds.

How the Research Was Done

To understand the experiences of neurodivergent individuals, the researchers combined surveys, group discussions, and interviews. This approach helped highlight not just the hurdles these individuals face in public engagement settings but also the unique strengths they bring, such as deep empathy, creative thinking, and a strong sense of justice.

The Gap in Current Practices

Despite these strengths, the research found that many neurodivergent individuals feel left out or uncomfortable in public participation activities. This signals a need for changes to make these spaces more welcoming and accessible to everyone, regardless of how their brain works.

Recommendations for More Inclusive Practices

To bridge the gap, the research offers actionable advice. This includes designing materials that are easy for everyone to use and planning events that consider diverse needs from the start. Simple steps like providing clear information in advance and offering various ways to participate can make a big difference. These efforts aim to create a safe space where everyone feels valued and can contribute effectively.

Webinar Highlights

The webinar, following the release of the research, served as an engaging platform for discussing these findings and recommendations in greater detail. It provided an opportunity for participants to ask questions, share experiences, and learn directly from the researchers about practical steps toward more inclusive public participation practices.

Looking Forward: Building a More Inclusive Future

This research is more than just a set of recommendations. It's a guide towards building a society where diversity in thought and perspective is not just acknowledged but celebrated. It invites us to challenge old ways of thinking, learn from each other, and work together to ensure that public participation truly includes everyone. As we move forward, embracing these insights will help us create a more equitable and inclusive community for all.

Access the webinar (free for Members)

Read the full publication

View more P2 resources from IAP2 Canada

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