Neurodivergent Celebration Week

by | Mar 18, 2024

How are your online meetings? Is everyone engaged and feeling welcome?

State the purpose before you start

Here are a few tips to help you “design for the margins” so everyone feels like they belong and their contributions are welcome. What does designing for the margins mean? We all have different needs and abilities. Being mindful of neurodiversity is essential to neuro inclusion. And when we design for all of the needs and abilities, everyone in between gets taken care of too. Here are a few tips you can put into practice in your next online meeting.

To be fair, ensure everyone attending the meeting is informed what the session will be about. Sharing the purpose, agenda and any read-aheads before the session is kind. This allows everyone to prepare for the meeting and additional time for those who need to process or make decisions. If a decision needs to be made by the end of the session, be sure to state the need at the start of the session. Give ample time for discussion and check-ins throughout the session if you need to get consensus and buy-in.

Cameras on for engagement, cameras off for self-preservation.

At the start of each session where I am presenting, I ask participants to turn on their cameras to create a sense of community and foster a brave space where we can practice contributing with confidence.

Then I make the caveat that we completely understand and accept that you need to turn off your camera if you are:

* Eating

* Away from your desk

* Experiencing bandwidth issues

* Or caring for someone

And if that someone you are caring for is you, then please turn on your camera so we can wave hello. We know that keeping your camera on can create Zoom fatigue due to visual overload.

Or better yet, just agree as a team that cameras on or off is acceptable—no questions asked. And be sure to take advantage of the reaction buttons and chat box to communicate.

Want to let others know you are present in an expressive way without having to be on camera? You might ask your teammates if the use of avatars during conversations is an acceptable meeting norm.

You can take a few minutes to get used to the feature and have fun as a team figuring out which you prefer. That way you can get the wiggles out before the more serious conversation needs to take place.

It’s important to ask permission because moving digital versions of yourself can also cause Zoom fatigue.

Like blurred or digital backgrounds, this moving light can cause overstimulation.

We get it if you have a messy room behind you or if your desk is in your bedroom. Consider putting up a portable screen or backdrop that blocks any unwanted views. It’s more real and as an extension, can be an expression of who you are.

Include all voices when harvesting knowledge from the group.

Whether you are annotating on a shared slide or the whiteboard, be sure to set a time for participants to type their contributions and follow that with those who prefer to share verbally. Using a timer allows participants to gauge how long they have to think and share.

I like to use the 3, 2, 1 approach. Three minutes to reflect or for free writing, 2 minutes to distill what you are willing to share, and 1 minute to annotate on the screen or verbally share.

Announce that we will give those typing 1 minute to do so and for those who are dialing in on a mobile device, only have audio, or prefer to share verbally, they may unmute after the 1 minute of those typing on the screen. This allows those who are typing to get their thoughts out without being distracted or influenced. It helps those who like to speak, the time to distill down what they would like to share to be more clear and succinct.

For more information, Zoom has an accessibility course that takes about 15 minutes to complete and you can earn a badge. You can learn more by clicking the link below or visiting the Zoom Learning Center:

Connect With Us

We are here to help! Let’s work together to ensure your success.

1346 The Alameda, Suite 7, San Jose, CA. 95126
(408) 444-6625
Learn Lead Lift® and The Learn Lead Lift Framework® are federally registered trademarks owned by Kadabra. Any unauthorized use is expressly prohibited.