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Yorkshire Adult Neurodiversity Network

by Lis Johnstone in Haxby, England, United Kingdom

Not quite
Unfortunately this project was not successful.

We aim to develop a team of ‘change-makers’ who will create a ‘community of support’ for adults with a range of Neurodiversity conditions.

by Lis Johnstone in Haxby, England, United Kingdom

YADDA has been operating for over 10 years and our young people challenged us to think about how we support the adults in our group! Look at their video about the difference YADDA can make! 

YADDA started with a couple of mums sharing a coffee and complaining about the current provision for supporting children, young people and adults with dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, Autism, dyscalculia etc.

Instead of just moaning we asked ourselves ‘what would we do differently?’ YADDA IS that difference. We offer a ‘safe space’ to ask questions; gain a better understanding of the various conditions and access affordable screening and assessments via our business arm DSSY. (Dyslexia Support services Yorkshire).

We have a very successful children and families group built up over the last 10 years; but are becoming more aware of the lack of support for the adults we’ve met in that time - young adults in particular. We have members of our group that have mental health issues ; have self harmed and are in need of both a ‘listening ear’  and of meeting others who have a similar experience as themselves.
We launched a pilot project last year, involving 7 adults and would like to extend that piece of work to a wider range of people; based on the growth seen over this last year from 7-21 in 6 months ; we’re looking at supporting 60 adults to be change makers - by organising a range of weekly (rather than monthly ) meetings; by offering a dedicated helpline; by training a team of ‘befrienders’ and by securing a physical weekly meeting space in our local community.

We recognise that 1:10-1:6 of ALL adults have some form of Neurodiversity condition ( and as such we know that issues of social isolation and economic marginalization are both 'very real' and very distressing. We aim to combat those specific and unique issues of isolation by :-

1. Further developing the core team of adults with neurodiversity issues (established last year) and seeking to support them to continue to build a community of support - this is a fundamental aim as a lot of support is offered as a result of a ‘deficit’ model of need not as a recognition of strengths or uniqueness. So currently adults access support because of their medical needs or because they're in trouble NOT because of their abundant creativity strengths or 'big thinking' capacities.

The other issue is that often support is offered as a power laden relationship- so the receiving adult has little scope for setting the agenda for the work or the changes they want to see develop. By moving from a ‘medical model of disability’ to a ‘social model of dusability’, we want to allow adults with neurodiversity to have their OWN voice and to empower them to create a social network that works for them.

2. By creating a safe space for supported work around 'life coaching' skills that are not aimed at modifying behaviour but are aimed at developing new skills and revealing underperforming areasthat can be further explored and therefore harnessed. For example, developing a series of workshops around digital music making; for further developing digital skills to include the use of assistive technology; creating a space for peer mentoring; further developing opportunities for work and exploring the notions of ‘purpose and vocation’.

3. By hosting a series of talks and workshops on specific areas of need such as ADHD awareness raising talk; living successfully with Dyslexia; dealing with Universal credit; becoming self-employed as an adult with ADHD or ASD.

4. By being a ‘different sort of support group’ that encourages difference and celebrates uniqueness. we aim to bring people together based NOT on their limitations but on their strengths. Creativity, enthusiasm, problem solving, empathy , compassion, ‘out of the box’thinking etc.



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