ADHD Foundation 'Neurodiversity Umbrella Project' welcomed onto campus

You may have noticed a rainbow installation of more than 80 umbrellas in the Student Life Building this week.  But what do the umbrellas mean? And why are they here at LJMU? 

LJMU is delighted to partner with the ADHD Foundation to bring the Neurodiversity Umbrella Project, onto our campus.  

The strings of coloured umbrellas are an uplifting visual representation of all the different minds we have here in the UK. The umbrellas are on display on the upper ground floor of the Student Life Building, with the aim to raise awareness and celebrate the umbrella term of neurodiversity, which includes ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and Tourette’s syndrome.  

Celebrating and raising awareness of neurodiversity 

Did you know: 

  • 1 in 5 human beings are neurodivergent 
  • 1 in 67 of us are on the autistic spectrum
  • 1 in 20 of us have ADHD or dyspraxia
  • 1 in 10 of us have dyslexia

Many people have a combination of these differences in how humans process and interact with their environment and the people around them. LJMU is partnering with the ADHD Foundation to help change the perception of neurodiverse/neurodivergent people and celebrate all the many strengths that come from thinking differently.  

The Diversity and Inclusion team spoke with Professor Phil Vickerman, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) to hear more about his thoughts about the project: 

“As part of our inclusive values, we are committed to recognising diversity throughout the university and within our communities. It is time for universities to take concerted action to celebrate the collective neurodiversity of staff, students, and visitors, and at LJMU we can lead the way in this regard. 

“The Project is a great way to recognise neurodiversity as an umbrella term for several conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), cerebral palsy, down syndrome, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, Tourette's syndrome, acquired brain injury, and mental health disorders. To name but a few.  

“I am absolutely committed to ensuring that at LJMU we create progressive interventions that support respectful engagement with everyone we work alongside. The Umbrella Project is a visible opportunity to do this, whilst being courageous in challenging and acting upon any barriers individuals may face.” 

Moni Akinsanya, Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion said: 

“I am thrilled to have The Neurodiversity Umbrella Project on our campuses, and I hope that it will serve as a talking point for the community and reiterate LJMU's commitment to being an inclusive university.  

“This project provides a colourful visual representation to challenge the stigma of invisible disabilities. It is crucial to raise awareness of neurodiversity to engage conversations about it and promote the general public's understanding of it. We are working hard to remove the barriers that are preventing people from reaching their full potential, and we will continue to work together to accomplish this.  

“I want LJMU to be a neurodiverse-friendly educational institution for all students and staff, and The Neurodiversity Umbrella Project is a great way to demonstrate our commitment to the cause and engage in those conversations.’ 

ADHD Foundation and leader of the Neurodiversity Umbrella Project, CEO Dr Tony Lloyd, said: 

“There is an evolutionary reason why 1 in 5 of humankind 'Think Differently'. 

“Liverpool John Moore's University is a pioneering, innovative university that is proud of our track record of inclusion and widening participation in higher education. In a rapidly changing, technology driven world, industry needs new thinking to optimise the opportunities of global markets and workplaces, We value and nurture those who 'Think Differently' to enable us all to benefit from solutions to the challenges we face on our world, our economy, our climate, our culture and our communities. 

“The Neurodiversity Umbrella Project at LJMU celebrates those who think differently, from Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt Mozart, Thomas Eddison, Rosalind Franklin, Steve Jobs and the millions of humans in current times, who are changing the world for the better.  

“Neurodiversity is as integral to live on planet earth as biodiversity. There is an evolutionary purpose why 1 in 10 are dyslexic thinkers, 1 in 20 ADHD, 1 in 60 autistic, 1 in 10 display dyspraxia or dyscalculia. Over 30% of Entrepreneurs and senior executives have either dyslexia or ADHD or both. Graduates with ADHD are twice as like to start their own business. Autistic minds dominate in our scientific research and like other neurodiverse creative thinkers in every industry and profession, we celebrate your enormous contribution to our lives, friendships and communities.  

We value and welcome these 'Different Thinkers' at Liverpool John Moores University as we venture into the 21st century, ready to think differently” 

Find out more 

This project is in partnership with the Diversity and Inclusion Team, JMSU, Estates and Student Experience. For any questions and enquiries, please email:  

Find out more about the ADHD Neurodiversity Umbrella Project. 


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