On Tuesday, May 17th, the Disability Education Alliance (DEA) at Kent Place hosted its first “Celebrate Neurodiversity Day.” DEA was founded in 2021 by Lilly F. ‘23 and Ruth Y. ‘24 and meets monthly according to the club calendar. This year, the 2021-2022 school year, was the first full school year in which DEA ran.
The goal of “Celebrate Neurodiversity Day” was for disabled students to demonstrate their pride and for allies to display their support to others in the Kent Place community. To embody this message, students received stickers with the Neurodivergent Infinity Sign to wear throughout the day. In addition, each grade, along with teachers, were given a different color to wear to resemble the Disability Pride Flag! Freshmen wore blue, Sophomores wore yellow, Juniors wore red, Seniors wore green, and teachers wore white. Below is a picture of KPS students at teachers at morning meeting wearing their respective colors.
The day also consisted of many thought-provoking activities and discussions. For example, DEA leaders put up QR codes around the school. After scanning the codes, a question would pop up. Students then had the opportunity to answer, and if correct, they would get one point. At the end of the day, the person with the most points, or correct answers, won a gift card. It was announced the following Friday that freshmen Isabella D. had won the challenge.
Arguably, one of the most interesting discussions of the day was at the panel discussion in the Great Room. During this panel discussion, important topics, such as the need for an affinity group for disabled students, were highlighted. It allowed neurodivergent students and teachers on the panel to have their voices heard and for allies to listen to understand the needs of the Kent Place community. DEA co-leader Lilly F. explained that, “We wanted the whole school community to be able to learn that disability isn't a bad thing, it's not something to be ashamed of. It's a part of our identity, and what makes us disabled people unique. In addition, we wanted neurodivergent students and faculty to see that there is a community of fellow neurodivergent people who can all support each other.”
Overall, “Celebrate Neurodiversity Day” proved to be a great success. As Lilly put it, “I hope that neurodivergent students felt celebrated, seen, heard, and respected. I hope that allies learned about the importance of accessibility, and also how to be more supportive and accommodating.”