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Medfield Schools Encourage Students to Celebrate Their Differences Through Neurodiversity Celebration Week Activities

For immediate release

MEDFIELD — Superintendent Jeffrey Marsden and Director of Student Services Mary Bruhl were pleased to share that schools across the district recently participated in Neurodiversity Celebration Week.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week took place at the end of March. The week aims to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences and to transform how neurodivergent individuals are perceived and supported in education systems. The week also provides the opportunity to recognize the many talents and advantages of being neurodivergent, while creating more inclusive and equitable cultures that celebrate differences.

This is the first year that Medfield Public Schools participated in the initiative and a variety of activities took throughout the schools and community. On Monday, March 21, the district hosted Dr. Temple Grandin who is an author and advocate for the autism community and neurodiversity. Over 200 people joined virtually and more than 30 people attended the session.

Other activities throughout the week included the following:

Elementary Schools

  • Monday focused on recognizing Down syndrome and students were encouraged to wear colorful and mismatched socks to school. The creative socks are commonly used to represent the unique look of the three chromosomes.
  • On Tuesday, a story about neurodiversity was recorded and shared with all classrooms.
  • On Wednesday, students and faculty were encouraged to dress in blue to celebrate and support the Autism community.
  • Thursday was “Positive Sign Thursday.” Signs saying, “We Are Inclusive!” were available throughout the elementary schools. A video was also shown in each classroom celebrating the uniqueness of different minds and encouraging acceptance and understanding.

Blake Middle School

  • On Monday, the school recognized Down syndrome.
  • On Tuesday, grade level assemblies were held with guest speaker attorney Brian McLaughlin.
  • On Wednesday, students and faculty were encouraged to dress in rainbow colors to represent all differences, learners and brains.
  • Throughout the week, “Did You Know?” facts were shared after morning announcements.

Medfield High School

  • Throughout the week, “Did You Know?” facts were shared after morning announcements.
  • Posters were created and hung around the school by the Best Buddies program, which is an international nonprofit that provides opportunities for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

District Wide

  • Libraries featured materials with neurodiverse authors, characters and themes, and created a list of recommendations for students, parents and caregivers. Summer reading choices for 2022 were also shared and included books for Pre-K-12 that feature neurodiversity through characters, authors and topics.
  • Staff professional development took place on Friday, March 25, which was designated as Design Your Learning Day. Staff members attended a variety of sessions to learn about the innovative practices, ideas and tools of other educators.
  • Schools, staff members and educators shared facts and resources on Twitter throughout the week.

Community Activities

  • Medfield Public Library collaborated with K-12 Library Department Head Kerry Cowell and the Pre-K-12 libraries to create book displays and lists. Park Street Books also put together a book display.

“We want all of our schools to be inclusive and accepting environments for our students, and celebrating our differences and what makes us unique is an important part of that goal,” Director Bruhl said. “We hope that this week helped our students, staff and community learn about neurodiversity and understand the many strengths of neurodiverse minds.”

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