Neurodiversity Week - Student Wellbeing - Chaplain's Chat

Wednesday, 05 June 2024
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God’

Last week, National Reconciliation Week was recognised throughout Australia. National Reconciliation Week was set aside by Australian faith communities in 1993, as the Week of Prayer for Reconciliation.

Reconciliation can mean different things for different people. For us as a Christian organisation, it means, first of all, that we reflect deeply on our own behaviours and attitudes, acknowledging and seeking forgiveness for the ways we have harmed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Reconciliation also means committing ourselves afresh to the call to be ‘peacemakers’ in the world, people filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit’s gift of peace. In the Bible, the idea of peace does not simply mean an end to hostilities. Instead, ‘peace’ is about wholeness and wellness, within and between people.

Bringing peace means healing those who are hurting, putting right injustices, and building relationships of love and respect among all people. This can be hard and messy work! The good news is, we do not have to do it alone. We follow in the footsteps of Jesus, who was called the Prince of Peace. We are filled with the Holy Spirit, who gives us everything we need to do God’s work. And, we have each other!

Rev’d Lisa Williamson

Artwork: the painting is by Ms Narelle Urquhart. Ms Urquhart is a Wiradjuri women from central NSW, who lives and works on Bundjalung country, near the Gold Coast. The painting shows diverse communities in our diocese, linked together, through Jesus Christ.


We possess a profound ability to shape our children's attitudes and beliefs, embedding values of acceptance, inclusivity, and respect for all.

The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), celebrated each year on May 17th, emphasises the critical need to educate children about diversity and inclusivity. Inaugurated in 2004 by the World Health Organization, this day is a global call to promote tolerance and combat discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community.

Instilling respect and acceptance for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in children is crucial. Celebrating IDAHOBIT helps families communicate a strong stance against discrimination, highlighting the importance of diversity and the damaging effects of stereotypes and biases. These prejudices often arise from the media, societal interactions, and peer influences, necessitating proactive efforts from parents and caregivers to counteract and discuss these issues.

Creating inclusive environments supports diversity and plays a vital role in raising awareness and demonstrating solidarity with LGBTQIA+ students and community members. It is a commitment to creating a world free from prejudice and discrimination, instilling values of empathy, respect and inclusivity.

This Special Report will help you fostering acceptance, empowering young people to become compassionate and informed advocates for equality.

Here is the link to your Special Report

We celebrated Neurodiversity Week here at BDC.

One highlight of the week was the incredible Seamus Evans, renowned speaker and advocate for neurodiversity. From empowering students to supporting teachers and parents, Seamus brought a fresh perspective that celebrated the unique strengths within each of us.

During the week students participated in a range of activities, workshops and presentations to raise awareness of Neurodiversity and empower those who may identify with the qualities and challenges it brings.

There were numerous parent/carer opportunities: Morning Coffee & chat, Q&A session, and even a  neurodiversity Book Stall.

Please take a look at a fun video we made highlighting all the different ways we as humans think.

A truly inspiring speech by Lilly Geddes

Hi, I’m Lilly, and what I am going to talk about is an issue I have faced growing up.

We are told this at primary “to do your own thing and be your own person” but sometimes that is really hard when all you want to do is fit in. I was 5 when my mother took me to a specialist to get assessed. The doctor concluded that I was ADHD, Dyslexic and Autistic and that I was “too much”.

I spent the years from kindy to Year 5 learning to read and write with my mother sitting me down for 1-2 hours every morning and afternoon teaching me to read. I spent most of those years crying my eyes out, saying “I would never learn to read”, “why is it so hard for me”, and “why can't I be like everyone else”.

I had to repeat a year as I had given up on my academic learning, which made school a lot harder for me to try and fit in with everyone, with many people saying “I’m dumb” and “weird”. The only place I could really be myself was when I was swimming. I was safe away from everybody's else’s words that were determining the person I was “your different, dumb and special”.

- Why couldn’t I be like everyone else?
- Why couldn’t I fit in?
- Is there something wrong with me?

I was 12 when I picked up the first chapter book to read for my own enjoyment, I’ll admit it took me a month to finish. But this is what I found to be my first accomplishment, to be able to read by myself and not have other people telling me what I can and can’t do.

I stand here in front of you all telling you, my struggles. I was diagnosed with dyslexia again when I was 15, and it all finally made sense why I had struggled so much growing up.

- Why I wasn’t like everyone else.
- Why I was the only one struggling.
- Why am I so different?

I am 18 now and have grown up having the labels “dumb, different and special”, while trying my hardest to fit in with everyone. But those are just labels, and it doesn’t define the person I am, I want to go to University, I want to read whatever books, and I want to learn! My disability doesn't define the person I am.

I know now that just because I’m dyslexic doesn’t mean I’m dumb or any different from anyone else, it means that I see the world in a different way and sometimes need a little extra help like anyone else. But I wouldn’t have been able to be the person I am today if it wasn’t from the support of my Mother, for the tireless amounts of hours she spent with me for my education but also swimming. My dad giving me the support to vent and give me advice to never stop going when something seems so far out of sight, and both my older brothers and friends who never gave up on me and taught me to accept the person I am, and the amazing teachers I’ve had through the years that would spend their extra time with me to make sure I get the grades I wanted to achieve, and showed me that I could do anything with the right people that accepted me for me.

I am Lilly and I am dyslexic.
We are told “to do your own thing and be your own person”.
“I did my own thing and I am my own person”.

Thank you.
Lilly Geddes