In the food scene of Melbourne’s western suburbs diversity abounds. This includes outstanding Ethiopian, Vietnamese, and Indian cuisines (as well as one particularly good pie shop). This richness is clear to us as soon as you drive past, it’s in the shop fronts and lively conversations we can soak in as we pass them by. However, not all of the diversity we have in our society is easy to spot.

    Neurodiversity week (recently celebrated on March 21- 27) is a worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about autism and learning disabilities. Whilst it is not as apparent as the food on our plate, the influence on our lives Neurodiversity has is immense.

    Albert Einstein and Alan Turin are intellectual pioneers, responsible for establishing the foundations of modern physics and artificial intelligence respectively. Both also were believed to have dyslexia and possible autism. Emma Watson has been a valuable part of many childhoods in the Harry Potter films and herself has been diagnosed with ADHD. However, this week not only seeks to dispel the myth that learning disabilities prevent individuals from having tremendously beneficial impacts on their community, it is also aims to spread awareness that the unique perspectives Neurodiversity creates can also act to empower individuals to contribute in ways they might not otherwise have been able to.

    Dr Temple Grandin is an animal behaviourist and scientist in the US with autism that has enriched our ability to look after the welfare of livestock (readers might be interested to see an excellent film called Temple Grandin by HBO on her life and contributions to learn more). These changes have been heralded as of huge benefit to the lives of animals on a global scale. Dr Grandin credits her autism with giving her a unique perspective that has driven her innovations around animal handling and welfare. Here we can see how clearly our Neurodiversity is a strength for the community as a whole.

    Therefore, this week is one to celebrate and share these stories, and many more, as part of acknowledging the immense contribution Neurodiversity provides to our community. Whilst it may not always be visible, it will always be there.

    William Kavanagh-Ryan

    Provisional Psychologist

    Will is in on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays.

    Will is a Counsellor completing his year as a Provisional Psychologist with WHC with experience across crisis support, education, and mental health services.

    Through his years of education and training in addition to time within the not-for-profit sector he has worked with individuals across childhood, adolescence and adult stages in life and developed therapy skills grounded in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). He has further skills and interests in Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Schema Therapy. He additionally has experience conducting psychometric assessment with children in early childhood, primary, and secondary settings on a variety of issues. Will completed his Honours thesis on the Effects of Acute and Chronic Fluoxetine on Social Behaviour.

    Will provides his clients with a safe environment to explore and discuss the challenges they are experiencing and works collaboratively to empower them to achieve the goals they set together. He understands that these goals can change over time and supports his clients to regularly check in with themselves to ensure their needs are being met.


    Our content is a labour of love, crafted by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the west. We encourage submissions from our community, particularly stories about your own experiences, family history, local issues, your suburb, community events, local history, human interest stories, food, the arts, and environmental matters. Below are articles created by community contributors. You can find their names in the bylines.

    Your feedback

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here



    Latest Articles

    Latest edition

    #98 July 2024

    Recent editions


    Become a supporter

    The Westsider is run on the power of volunteers. Your contribution directly contributes to ensuring we can continue serving and celebrating our community.

    Related articles