Neurodiversity.

Neurodiversity is simply another manifestation of mental pluralism in human life.
Neurodiversity Network
What do we believe?

According to GurSikhi: Every life is an expression of Waheguru, in a diversity of forms, abilities, temperaments, and characters.

Neurodiversity is another manifestation of mental pluralism in human life.

Neurodiversity Network

Not all children are the same, not all children behave in the same way and not all children have the same mental approach towards life, education, learning skills and social interactions. However, society often seeks uniformity and in some instances demands conformity. However, with so much neurodiversity within our general society, this inevitably results in misunderstandings, tensions and sometimes sadness when those who want conformity seek to change those who may be perceived as ‘different’. This in turn further marginalises those who may not be perceived as ‘neurotypical’. Nevertheless, with a little bit of understanding these tensions can easily be overcome and society, groups and people can function extremely well as supportive and cohesive communities.

Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall.
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Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick
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What do we want to achieve?

The Sikh Neurodiversity Network is currently working towards establishing a network of support from Sikh community institutions, particularly Gurdwaras, for children and young adults with lifelong neurological characteristics such as Autism.

Therefore, the primary objectives of this project are to:

  • Increase understanding within Gurdwaras of neurodiversity.
  • Enhance the skills of some key members of Gurdwaras and Sikh community institutions in neurodiversity with the focus initially on Autism.
  • Establish a London wide, and later a nationwide, network of support for Sikh families with neurodiverse children.
  • Increase general society understanding, engagement and support.
What do we want to achieve?
GURDWARAS AND SIKH COMMUNITY INSTITUTIONS
Gurdwaras and Sikh community institutions.

All Sikhs and many non-Sikhs seek closeness with ‘Waheguru’ from the teachings and guidance of Sri Guru Granth Sahib through the GuruDawara, the open doors that the Sikh Gurus provide to people of all backgrounds, beliefs and abilities.

GURDWARAS AND SIKH COMMUNITY INSTITUTIONS

The greatest ‘Sewa’ of those serving the Guru in Gurdwaras is to ensure that the doors of the Guru are always open, welcoming and accommodating for all people irrespective of their abilities and capacities so that they feel embraced by the Guru.

Therefore, it is important that no one feels marginalised or excluded simply because they ‘think’ differently or behave differently or prefer silence or feel uncomfortable with ‘strangers’.

In our collective experience, Sikh religious and community leaders have consistently demonstrated vast amounts of empathy and sympathy towards those from diverse backgrounds including neurodiversity.

However, Gurdwaras and other Sikh community institutions often lack the formal infrastructures (systems and policies) necessary to support those with lifelong neurological characteristics such as Autism. However, it is extremely important to note that this issue is prevalent across society or is by no means solely applicable to Gurdwaras and other Sikh institutions.

There is also currently very little general social awareness of the issues surrounding neurological conditions such as Autism let alone support from community-based projects and organisations – we aim to and will change this!

How will we achieve our objectives?

The Sikh Neurodiversity Network is currently establishing a network of support for those with lifelong neurological characteristics, such as Autism, and listening to their experiences and the experiences of those who are close to them. Specifically, regarding the problems, they may have encountered whilst accessing Gurdwaras and other Sikh community institutions.

After we have completed this step we will establish a network of experts within Gurdwaras and other Sikh community institutions who will be charged with increasing Sangat (congregation) understanding, engagement and support for those with lifelong neurological characteristics.

These individuals will then go on to advise the Sangat and Gurdwara volunteers about the different forms of emotional and related communications that seem to work better with neurodiverse children.

The Sikh Human Rights Group will also bring in an affiliate of ours – Caudwell Children. Caudwell Children are a world-leading charity with considerable expertise in working with children and adults with lifelong neurodiversity characteristics. Please copy and paste the following link for more information about them and their vastly beneficial work:

www.caudwellchildren.com

How will we achieve our objectives?
Who can get involved?

Parents: We are calling upon parents of those with lifelong neurological characteristics who are currently living in London, Greater London or in the midlands to come forward and join our network.

We want to help you feel confident and supported. Especially, when it comes to asking Gurdwaras and other Sikh community institutions for assistance!

Gurdwaras: We are calling upon anyone who regularly visits their local Gurdwara and who has a genuine desire to make their Gurdwara a more meaningful and pleasant place for those with lifelong neurodiverse characteristics to come forward and join our support network!

Schools: We are calling upon representatives of schools located in London, Greater London or in the Midlands to come forward and help us, Gurdwara volunteers and Gurdwara leaders to make this world a more meaningful and pleasant place for those with lifelong neurodiverse characteristics!

To get involved in this exciting project please email:

carlos.arbuthnott@shrg.ngo

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