The RCVS Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) have partnered with the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) to run a neurodiversity stream as part of the annual BSAVA Congress.
The congress, which is due to take place at the Manchester Central Convention Complex from 23–25 March 2023, will include over 130 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) covering a variety of disciplines and learning styles – from lectures and panel discussions to interactive sessions and free practical CPD workshops.
The neurodiversity stream will be held in the Exchange Auditorium on Friday 24 March and will consist of a number of sessions covering a wide range of sessions surrounding neurodiversity, including the keynote speech entitled ‘Neurodiversity and integration: bridging two worlds’ to be given by founding director of ADHD Girls, Samantha Hiew. Other sessions on neurodiversity throughout the day include:
- Exploring neurodiversity
- Different not less
- Neurodiversity – the challenges of diagnosis
- Neurodiversity in veterinary teams – the importance of allyship
- Communication considerations
- Supporting neurodivergent clients
- Supporting neurodivergent vet and vet nursing students
- Moving forward – how can we cultivate more inclusive working?
Mind Matters Initiative Manager, Lisa Quigley, said: “MMI is delighted to be partnering with BSAVA to run this incredibly important stream. It is estimated that around 1 in 7 people in the UK are neurodivergent and whilst there is definitely more awareness surrounding the benefits of embracing a neurodivergent workforce and supporting neurodivergent individuals within the workplace, there is still much more to be done.
“Neurodiversity simply means that the brain functions, learns and processes information in a slightly different way to those who are considered neurotypical. Conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders come under the neurodivergent umbrella.
“At MMI, we have been keen to bring neurodiversity to the forefront of our work. In the past year this has included the creation of our Neurodiversity Resource Hub, as well as funding a research project into identifying and addressing workplace stressors for autistic veterinary professionals.
“There is huge strength to be found in diversity of thinking, however, we know that neurodivergent individuals may sometimes face challenges. It is therefore vital to ensure that all individuals working in the veterinary professions feel supported to be who they are in order to thrive in the workplace.
“We are really looking forward to continuing our neurodiversity work in the future and would like to thank the BSAVA for continuing to provide a platform for these vital conversations.”
Andy Green, vice chair of the BSAVA Congress Programme Committee said: “It has never been more important to understand, connect with and support all the members of our veterinary teams, of whom a considerable number may be neurodivergent. The same is true for many pet owners and clients.
“We are delighted to be able to provide a platform in partnership with the RCVS Mind Matters Initiative to explore this important subject and help to promote a greater understanding of what it actually means to be neurodivergent, along with practical ways that practices can understand, embrace and support neurodivergent members of the work force and community.”
Tickets for BSAVA Congress are available on the BSAVA Congress website. To access the Mind Matters Neurodiversity Resource Hub and for information on the autism research project, visit the Mind Matters website.