Much can be done to make a workspace more accessible to and inclusive of colleagues who are deaf or hard of hearing. Universal design can provide a framework for doing so by underpinning practices that can be applied proactively to make a welcoming and environment and to ensure that appropriate accommodations are available specific individuals.
There is ongoing debate surrounding the best language to use when referring to individuals on the autism spectrum. Some prefer “a person who is autistic” or “a person who is on the autism spectrum” (e.g., person-first language), while some prefer “an autistic person” (e.g., identity-first language).
There are various resources for helping neurodivergent job seekers find jobs and careers. For example, the Neurodiversity Career Connector includes a collection of employers committed to hiring neurodivergent employees as well as providing additional training and support to foster success and career growth. The Neurodiversity in the Workplace combines job posting services with business consultancy services, to help businesses develop policies and services to support neurodiverse employees.
There are many ways to learn about the experiences of people with disabilities, even if you do not interact with them directly. Many books and articles offer stories about people with disabilities, but many people with disabilities have also shared their own experiences through books, articles, videos, blog posts, and other sources.
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, concrete steps can be taken to ensure that conferences, meetings, presentations, and other events are accessible to a diverse audience. Begin by thinking about who might face barriers to an event. These may include individuals who are blind or have low vision, are deaf or hard of hearing, have mobility impairments, are English language learners, and are connecting to virtual meetings via audio only.
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.