Third Annual Centre for Community and Social Justice Conference

19/06/2024 by Newman Staff

On 14th June, the Centre for Community and Social Justice at Birmingham Newman University hosted its third annual conference, welcoming approximately 50 attendees. This summer’s focus was Neurodiversity and Social Justice. Participants included representatives from Entrust Care Partnership, 3SC, AGCAS, Fircroft College, the NHS, Birmingham Voluntary Trust (BVT), Birmingham Children’s Trust, alongside academics from Birmingham Newman University, Birmingham City University, Nottingham Trent University, and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Among the distinguished speakers was Dr. Vicky Palmer from Nottingham Trent University, who discussed neurodiversity in the Youth Justice System from the perspective of front-line practitioners. Dr. Palmer highlighted the disjunct between the number of young people with a diagnosis of neurodivergence of one type or another (or often more than one), yet those working in the youth justice system have not had any training on understanding neurodivergence. This concern was echoed by conference attendees, many of whom had to seek out their own training on neurodivergence.

Dr. Anne-Marie Day from Manchester Metropolitan university explored Justice for Neurodivergent children in the youth court. She shared her ongoing work with the Sieff Foundation and the need for practices and changes within the Youth Court to align with the Equality Act 2010. This would ensure reasonable adjustments and prevent discrimination against neurodivergent young people in Youth Court.

Other speakers presented a range of topics, including the ethics of care when developing research approaches with neurodiverse children, romantic relationships and sexuality education for neurodivergent children, exploring Neurodivergent graduates access to graduate employment, and creating inclusive educational spaces for students with ADHD without the need for individual assessments.

Feedback demonstrated the event was positively received by attendees. The event underscored the need for ongoing collaboration among academics, community groups, organisations, and neurodivergent individuals themselves, ensuring their experiences remain central to discussions. Nothing About Me Without Me.