There are several organizations that are interested in increasing the participation of people with disabilities in computer science, at both the preK-12 level and the postsecondary level.
There is a growing understanding in the corporate world that employing people with a range of neurodivergent abilities—such as autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia, dyscalculia, and sensory processing disorders—can benefit a work team. However, these same disabilities can make it difficult to be successful, especially in job interview processes; in response, some employers have established employment resources for neurodivergent job seekers.
Whether in person or online, there are concrete steps that anyone can take to ensure that their meetings, events, and presentations are more accessible to a wide audience. Begin by thinking about who might face barriers to an event. These may be disability-related barriers for individuals who are blind or have low vision, deaf or hard of hearing, have mobility impairments, or have other disabilities. Also consider whether events are accessible to non-native speakers of English, individuals connecting to virtual meetings via phone, or other groups.
Women with disabilities in academic science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers face a variety of challenges.
As institutions seek to leverage the benefits of diversity, application pools for faculty positions have become increasingly diverse, inclusive of faculty with disabilities who bring unique and valuable perspectives and talents to the workplace. However, the inaccessible design of the employment application process, as well as many campus facilities, software tools, services, and online resources, continue to erect barriers to some applicants and employees with disabilities, including those who are also members of other marginalized groups.
Unfortunately, the designs of some informal learning conversations and other activities do not allow individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to fully participate. There are several strategies your program can follow to avoid this situation. Begin by making sure your promotional materials and correspondence with potential participants explain how individuals can request accommodations, including a sign language interpreter and real-time captioning.
The Riverside Art Museum (RAM) created KickstART kits during the Covid-19 pandemic to provide natural science education through at-home art making. Each kit is designed to inspire young learners to explore the natural world, and each kit has five art lessons with specific themes students can choose from: Animals, Art Around the World, Oceans of Fun, Desert, and Winter.
Open Exhibits, originally funded by the National Science Foundation, seeks to transform the way in which museums and other informal learning institutions produce and share digital exhibits. Open Exhibits hosts accessible downloadable exhibits that utilize universal design principles in their development. Examples of downloadable exhibits include the following:
The Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) works with the National Science Foundation’s Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program to “build and advance the informal STEM education field by providing infrastructure, resources, and connectivity for educators, researchers, evaluators, and other interested stakeholders.”