Keeping The Inclusion Passion Virtually

At the risk of turning this space into my therapy session, I’ll say again that this pandemic is stressful. It keeps us Inclusionistas from doing what we do – getting ALL kids included in their schools and communities! I find myself very stressed about how schools and programs are going to safely re-open, and I do not even have children. If I am this anxious about it, I can only imagine how people who have school-age kids are feeling.

Thankfully, throughout this pandemic, I have been able to participate in events (online) that nourish my soul and sooth my nerves. Last week, I attended two such events.

Doing What We Do Virtually
First, our KIT Training Team is currently working very  hard to launch a brand new “virtual” site visit delivery model. Our experienced and engaging Trainers will be able to zoom into a program and provide the support and assistance needed to help providers care for children in this unusual time. I sat in on Brooke’s practice session and was so impressed with the care that the team is putting into the development of this new offering. I know this new approach will make a huge difference to program staff out in the field and help them navigate what are some pretty big challenges. It’s both inspiring and exciting to see our team innovate through this ongoing crisis to be able to reach those who need us.

Doing What I Was Supposed To Be Doing Virtually
Second, I had the opportunity to be on a panel hosted by the Power of Neurogaming Center at the Qualcomm Institute at UCSD on Neurodiversity in Tech. Our panel was originally planned to be a part of South by Southwest (SXSWEdu) in Austin, Texas back in March. SXSW was one of the first large events to cancel due to the Coronavirus. It was a big shock at the time, but in hindsight is “of course.”

I was grateful to have the opportunity to present alongside neuroscientists and engineers talking about the need for diversifying the workforce in the tech industry. It was a fun conversation and since it was on Facebook Live, it was recorded if you want to take a look. Amy, a product designer who has autism and ADHD, spoke eloquently about how this new remote work environment has helped her thrive in the workplace. She gave specific examples of the ability to control the physical and sensory environment and the chance to be more effective at meetings since she can have notes and scripts when giving presentations. Mike Roberts, Founder and CEO of San Diego Code School, offered that we could all have “more grace” when approaching diversity and inclusion and gave examples of ways to use the hiring process to get the best out of candidates.

The more I am able to engage in inclusion each week, the more my passion continues to be fueled. I hope you are finding ways to keep your spirits up these days.