The fifth annual Neurodiversity Celebration Week – a worldwide initiative challenging stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences - was held 21-27 March. ‘Neurodiversity’ is an umbrella term covering a variety of conditions and disabilities such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Autism, Dyscalculia, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia &Tourette’s Syndrome.
One of the four success criteria of the Engineering Council’s 2025 Strategy is ‘a more diverse and inclusive profession’. Anecdotally, it appears some forms of neurodiversity – such as ASD and dyslexia – appear to be over-represented in engineering, compared with the overall population. This could indicate that some types of neurological difference can be a boon to individuals working in engineering.
As part of Neurodiversity Celebration Week, the Engineering Council shared some insights from neurodiverse engineers in our case studies library:
“I was diagnosed as being dyslexic at the age of 17 which means I have a spikey IQ profile. Finding out I was dyslexic was a blessing and a curse. I realised my brain was wired differently to the average person. I focused on my strengths and realised that engineering and creative fields would be the best avenue for my skill-set. Personally, I now see my neurodiverse brain as a benefit as I can see connections and patterns, plus I like to visually represent thoughts and theories.” Mamta Singhal MBE BEng (Hons) MSc MBA CEng MIET FWES
“I have worked with the IET to generate awareness that dyslexia need not be a barrier in engineering. Although it was a battle that I had to overcome in the days before it was a recognised disability, nowadays assistance is more readily available.” EUR ING Brian M Back BEng (Hons) CEng FIET MIoD
Dr Larissa Suzuki, BSc MPhil PhD CEng FRSA MIET AFHEA is Technical Director at Google's Office of the Chief Technology Officer, and autistic. She spoke at our Making It Work event about how Engineering Council Standards support individual engineers and technicians. Watch the video here.
Neurodiversity Celebration Week aims to transform how neurodivergent individuals are perceived by recognising the many talents and advantages of being neurodivergent.. The week also aims to create more inclusive and equitable cultures that celebrate differences and empower every individual, both in education and workplaces. The event was created in 2018 by Siena Castellon, who was a teenager at the time. She said:
“I wanted to change the way learning differences are perceived. As a teenager who is autistic and has ADHD, dyslexia, and dyspraxia, my experience has been that people often focus on the challenges of neurological diversity. I wanted to change the narrative and create a balanced view which focuses equally on our talents and strengths.”
The Engineering Council is keen to include neurodiverse registrants in our case studies library, sharing their experience with the profession and prospective registrants. If you would like to share your career journey, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org