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Neurodiversity peer support group launching at The Hub, Riverview Country Park, Mundole will celebrate differences and empower attendees

By Garry McCartney

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Lisa Gatley at The Hub in Riverview County Park.
Lisa Gatley at The Hub in Riverview County Park.

A LOCAL resident is starting a new neurodiversity peer support group in Forres.

Lisa Gatley (58), who has lived experience of and comes from a neurodiverse background, is passionate about challenging stereotypical views and misconceptions.

She said: “Neurodiverse people have differences not deficits.

“Differences should be embraced, and we should be shining a light on the benefits and talents of being diverse.

“It is important to recognise the many strengths, for instance, creativity and hyper-focus associated with ADHD and Autism.

“Furthermore, there are emotional challenges which can be related to feelings of not fitting in, and how neurodiversity has been perceived as a disadvantage due to the long history of negative stigma.”

‘Neurodiversity’ describes differences in the way people’s brains work and how they interpret information.

Someone who is neurotypical is perceived to have brain functions that process information in the way that society expects it to - being neurodivergent means their brains process information differently. Neurodiversity has also evolved from a formal diagnosis of Autism, ADHD or another learning disorder, as well as people who self-identify as being neurodiverse.

Lisa believes attention to the positives of being diverse will create more acceptance and understanding.

She said: “Anyone who feels that they fall under the umbrella term of neurodiversity can help validate a person’s experiences, and find comfort from talking and connecting with others.

The first monthly Neuro Diversity Support Group will run from 6-8pm on Wednesday, October 25 at The Hub, Riverview Country Park, Mundole.

Lisa said: “It will build confidence and offer a safe space where people can share experiences and gain knowledge, develop helpful strategies and promote wellbeing, and increase awareness.

“This will allow neurodivergent people to feel empowered and help them embrace their authentic selves.”

To confirm a place or for more information, email elizagatley@gmail.com.

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