Student Experiences – Neurodiversity & Inclusion (Pam Phillippo)
Dr Pam Phillippo, BSc (Hons), PhD, has worked for over 25 years in the education sector. Formerly a lecturer in Further Education, she is a published author and has lectured in Higher Education at The University of Bath, where she taught elite GB athletes. She has also taught in the primary sector. She recently completed the Level 3 Certificate Neurodiversity & Inclusion (Train the Trainer).
What motivated you to apply for and engage in this course?
After years of academic study, aside from positively contributing to my own professional development, any new course that I choose to study needs to bring something fresh, interesting, and different to the table!
Over the course of my career, I have always enjoyed meeting people who others might perceive as being unusual, eccentric, or different in some way – let’s say ‘outsiders’. These people may often be misunderstood and potentially sidelined, yet take the time to really get to know them and you’ll find that they have so much to offer. Outsiders have the advantage of seeing things from the outside! They don’t like group think or the herd mentality. They bring unique characteristics, strengths, and new perspectives.
There have been specific times in my career that I’ve met and had input from people to steer me in the right direction, examples include my PhD supervisor and a tutor for my first teaching qualification. And I’d like to think that over the years I’ve been able to encourage and empower young people (who have experienced a range of different issues and challenges) to connect with their values and be the fullest versions of themselves.
Neurodiversity has always been present on that journey. We need to recognise the unique needs that people may have and the different ways in which they experience the world. And we need to cultivate inclusive environments where people feel that they belong, where they can be their authentic selves, and find purpose and meaning in their work.
It’s commendable and refreshing that PPG course lecturers are able to be honest and open about their own neurological differences. This has certainly made the whole course delivery and approach completely engaging, authentic, and memorable for me.
What are you taking away from your learning experience?
- The importance of establishing psychological safety in the work environment so that people can be their authentic selves.
- The different support needs and workplace adjustments that neurodivergent individuals may require.
- The extent to which people may mask their neurological difference(s) and how they may ‘adapt’ to be able to seemingly ‘fit into’ a work environment/specific situation or to meet other peoples’ requirements or expectations.
- Ataraxia – it’s such a great word! The course has been a good reminder about the importance of finding ikigai in life.
New knowledge acquired from this learning experience will help spark ideas and inspire me to develop innovative and engaging new products for the IMI. I have recently developed a ‘Neurodiversity Awareness in the Workplace’ toolkit resource for IMI employees and the wider automotive retail community.
How do you plan to use your qualification in the future?
I’m aiming to train and support others by delivering group workshops for IMI staff, to raise awareness of neurodiversity and improve understanding across the workforce. The IMI are also currently working towards achieving PPG’s NICE Award.
Pam Phillippo has worked for over 25 years in the education sector. Formerly a lecturer in Further Education, she is a published author and has lectured in Higher Education at The University of Bath, where she taught elite GB athletes. She has also taught in the primary sector. Working alongside world experts in psychophysiology, Pam studied her PhD part-time by research at The University of Wales, Bangor. Her studies were published in a number of scientific academic journals. Pam has extensive experience in qualification design and development and currently works as a Product Specialist for the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI). Her role involves the design and development of assessment, training, and support materials across a range of different products including: Ofqual-regulated qualifications, Apprenticeships, Accredited Assessments, and eLearning solutions.