Simple Solutions Toward Better Neuro-Inclusivity
June 6, 2023 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM Virtual
On Tuesday, June 6, the Intelligence and National Security Foundation (INSF) and the National Security Neurodiversity Network hosted a virtual panel, Simple Solutions Toward Better Neuro-Inclusivity.
Panelists (L-R) Teresa Thomas, Program Lead, Neurodiverse Talent Enablement, The MITRE Corporation; Dr. Hala Annabi, Associate Professor, Information School, University of Washington; Major Daniel Kiser, USAF, Deputy Director, Learning Sciences & Faculty Education, Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, U.S. Air Force; and Lauren Bacon Smith, Chief People Officer, Enabled Intelligence.
The discussion kicked off with Dr. Annabi giving context about the importance of being neuro-inclusive. She noted that approximately 15-20% of the population is neurodivergent and having cognitive diversity can add to an organization's creative problem-solving, innovation, and representation.
Panelists then discussed low-cost or no-cost changes in the workplace that have made a big impact. Ms. Smith spoke about the value of having neurodiversity as a core goal and principle, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because of the value it offers. Maj. Kiser noted how “sensory gating” and modifying bright lights, sound levels, strong smells, and engaging in self-advocacy can make positive impacts on the workflow of neurodiverse employees. Dr. Annabi discussed the value of explicitly telling people how you communicate, to avoid confusion and help efficiency in the office. All the panelists agreed on how these and other small changes can have big impacts and can be implemented by organizations of various sizes and structures.
The panelists and moderator also discussed the balance between privacy and accommodation, inclusive leadership, approaching cultural changes within businesses, job searching for neurodiverse individuals, and more. Some suggestions were long-term plans, while others could be done the same day, but all were things that (while costing time) cost businesses little to no money in return for a more inclusive, forward-thinking, and accepting structure and workforce.
The following links were shared during the discussion.