“I want to tell my story to
help future neurodiverse
tamariki and rangatahi
thrive at school.”
10 to 20% of
New Zealand’s young people are neurodiverse. They have brains wired to think, learn, perceive the world and feel differently from neurotypical people.
Each neurodiverse brain is unique. Some young people may be gifted, or have ASD, ADHD, dyslexia, processing issues or other diagnoses - or a number of these conditions. These unique brains have an enormous amount to offer a world which needs new thinking to solve ever more challenging problems.
Right now, too few of New Zealand’s 160,000 to 320,000 neurodiverse young people are able to achieve their potential. Most have to operate in an education system not designed for them. Despite the Government's 2019-2025 Learning Support Action Plan. still too few are identified and supported as neurodiverse, and too few ECEs, schools and tertiary organisations have teachers with the capabilities and resources to understand and support them. Far too many of our neurodiverse young people end up underachieving - disengaging, dropping out, and suffering from mental health challenges - and never contributing their unique gifts to our communities.
In Election Year 2023, it’s time for the voices of our neurodiverse rangatahi to be heard. As a non-profit supporting neurodiverse young people, we are backing our rangatahi to drive the change they want to see.
“It’s Election Year in 2023 so we are calling on our neurodiverse young people to step up as changemakers and make their voices heard.”
Would you like to be one of 10 - 15 Young Neurodiversity Champions who will lead and shape this debate in 2023?
You must be between 15 and 22, identify as neurodiverse, have communication skills with the ability to work collaboratively as part of a diverse group, and have the time and energy to contribute to the campaign.
You will need to be able to attend a day long workshop in Auckland in mid-February (date TBC) and in Wellington on 14 March (travel and expenses covered) as well as monthly Zoom meetings. You’ll also need a couple of hours a week to contribute to joint communications, promote the campaign on social media, undertake media and publicity, and to meet influencers and decision-makers.
If you are under 18, we will need your parents or guardians’ consent before we confirm your selection. For everyone, it’s a good idea to talk with your whānau and friends about whether you will have the time, energy and support to be a Champion in 2023.
Applications close on Monday 30 January 2023.
Become a Young Neurodiversity Champion
Our Young Neurodiversity Champions will come together in mid-February to co-design a campaign for Election 2023, headed up by our Champions. Its aim will be to ensure that politicians and our wider community recognise the legitimate and currently unmet needs of neurodiverse young people and commit to new policies that make a difference on the ground.
On 14 March 2023, our Champions will visit Parliament for sesssions with MP's from all parties to tell their stories and present a White Paper outlining their vision for change.
Even if you are not chosen as a Champion, your voice will be heard as we compile all of the ideas you express in your Application Forms into the White Paper and campaign, and as we all work together through 2023 to share and spread ideas across our communities.
We are bringing together a diverse group of around 10-15 young changemakers, representing all genders and ethnicities, from across Aotearoa, with a range of ages and neurodiversities.