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Social work employers urged to sign new neurodiversity pledge

A new pledge hopes to gain the signatures of employers vowing to create a “neuro-inclusive culture of appreciation”.

19/04/24

Social work employers urged to sign new neurodiversity pledge

Councils and other employers of social workers are being encouraged to sign up to a new pledge to celebrate neurodiversity in the profession.

The pledge has been created by a group of neurodivergent social workers with the backing of the Social Workers Union (SWU).

The pledge’s authors hope it will encourage employers to recognise the contribution neurodivergent social workers bring to their roles and commit to act towards a neuro-inclusive workplace.

Deb Solomon, a social worker from Derbyshire, one of the leaders of the campaign and said the pledge will give employers of social workers an “opportunity to promote acceptance and understanding of neurodiversity among all members of staff.”

“We will also expect signatories of the pledge to create a neuro-inclusive culture of appreciation, celebration and belonging in their organisations.

“Another area we are keen to explore is how employers are able to take direct action to create psychologically safe work environments that empower the neurodivergent members of our profession to thrive.”

John McGowan, General Secretary of the Social Workers Union, said that, by asking employers to sign up to a pledge and evidence their inclusive culture, they will be able to share examples of good practice across the social work profession.

“SWU has been delighted to support this group and we’re honoured to host the pledge on our website.”

Jenni Guthrie, Principal Curriculum Lead at Frontline, said it was necessary to “challenge the stigma around neurodiversity and celebrate the numerous skills neurodiverse individuals can bring to the social work profession.

“But a first step to doing this is to ensure that employers become more neuro-inclusive. It has never been more important to value every member of staff and our workplaces should be psychologically safe spaces for neurodivergent social workers to be themselves.”

“By working to create a neuro inclusive environment, social work employers and educators across the country will act as a beacon of hope and empowerment that welcomes more neurodiverse workers,” David Grimm, a social work student from Glasgow, said. “By undertaking the pledge and actively working towards inclusion, then employers and universities alike will remove existing stigmas and barriers to social work, and will allow room for neuro diverse people to flourish and thrive.”

“This in turn results in a more neurodiverse workforce. The major benefit of this is that services are able to provide more understanding and a better experience to the people who need their help. In many cases, social work clients won't have had this unless their social worker also happened to be neuro diverse.”

Organisations who are interested in finding out more about signing the pledge can visit the Social Workers Union website: https://swu-union.org.uk/swu-campaign-fund/pledge-celebrating-neuro-inclusive-social-work

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