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Stanford Neurodiversity Summit Day 3 | part 1

Unknown Speaker 1:53:07

The medicine tap training is free. It's available to any employer looking to participate and as available at tap Training is virtual and supported with a comprehensive manual and any employer that's looking to go through a training is has access to follow up with American representative hope in the hopes of maybe implementing their own autism or diversity and inclusion hiring programs or maybe assessing their own existing programs. The meristem tech training entails two hours of training total, which is administered in five easy to digest modules each around 20 to 25 minutes. Shameless shameless shameless plug. We are looking for interested employers to participate in American tech training. If interested or know any business owners who might be please visit or for too long, the most untapped training website tap Go ahead and move us to the next slide mark.

Unknown Speaker 1:53:59

I'm going to end my presentation with a series of supports and resources that are available at the state and federal levels in California, for individuals with disabilities outside of my title one way old world. The first and primary partner in this effort at the state level, of course, is that we will try to form provider vocational rehabilitation, which in California is the Department of Rehabilitation under Rio, title to the adult ed program, California adult education program

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for for K 12. And those entering college in particular, our access to referrals, I'm sorry, access to referrals, access to referrals to programs, such as workability one and two. As we just heard the regional centers, run the paid internship program, which is one of the best resources for for this population. Go ahead and move us to the next slide mark.

Unknown Speaker 1:54:50

This slide of supports is really geared toward employment vocational resources at your community college office offices. Most will have it

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DSPs office the disabled students program and services office to provide access to programs like workability, three and college to career. The Ticket to Work program under the Social Security Administration is administered by various local vendors training that provide training or employment services and allows for SSI or SSDI Social Security benefits recipients to protect their medical and cash benefits, if they would like to try working or to get into a vocational training program. The leap program for state employment is an alternative testing and an interviewing process for state jobs. Recent expansion, a couple key things here, there was a recent expansion of state classifications eligible Felipe so there's a lot more jobs now available for the leap program if you have not seen and and neat benefit to sb 866. That brought about the meristem tap training also established some key changes to the leap program, which would change the permanent status definition of an employee to now include those appointed to the position after completing the probationary period under leap and would require the individuals referred to hiring managers through leap be included in the same applicant pool or list as other eligible applicants which had not been the case till very recently. Next slide mark.

Unknown Speaker 1:56:15

final set of resources for you and some underutilized programs the CalHFA CalFresh EMT employment training program in June 2019, supportive services and training resources under the SNAP program was expanded for for recipients of SSI and SSDI. To be eligible. The medical working disabled program allows for certain working disabled individuals to become eligible for medical based on their net countable income. And the CSBG funding available through the community action agencies provides funds to alleviate causes and conditions of poverty in local communities more broadly. That wraps up my set of state and federal resources for us. And if we go to our last slide here, Mark, it'll just be it'll just be the thank you for your time. Slide. Again, if you'd like any information on the meristem tap employer training, we are looking for employers to test this training, implement programs, visit tap My contact information is available here as well as the Cal or as well as the CWA website. And I'm happy to take any questions with time that may be available at the end of this presentation.

Unknown Speaker 1:57:27

Thank you, Brandon, for this very informative, informative presentation. We're gonna move along to our next presenter once Give me one second and attendees please. If you have questions for a specific speaker, please write their name. So we're able to answer those questions. Thank you. One second.

Unknown Speaker 1:57:55

So our next presenter is Jerry de tillow. Jerry is the CO director of Jobs Plus employment and vocational services at caminar.

Unknown Speaker 1:58:34

Hello, everyone, just once getting the slides

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on the break the silence there for a second.

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Go ahead.

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Again, Hello, everyone.

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So next slide, please.

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So a little bit about my background. Hopefully everyone can hear me.

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I'm the CO director of caminar Jobs Plus Jobs Plus is a program that provides individual

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individualized training and assistance and support to consumers with disabilities to be successful in competitive employment. I have 23 years experience with

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Working narrative we're working with and helping neurodivergent individuals and those with other disabilities secure and maintain employment. Next slide please.

Unknown Speaker 2:00:12

A little bit about Kevin our jobs plus counter Jobs Plus was founded in 1964. We are karf accredited. We're a nonprofit organization that helps more than 20,000 people each year. In Solano County's Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, San Francisco, San Francisco and Butte counties find jobs and a host of other services were of high fidelity program focusing on best practices and integrated treatment for a wide range as mentioned of disorders.

Unknown Speaker 2:00:43

We work to meet intermediate and long term goals of the clients. We place clients in many different areas and depends largely on client preference, education and background skill set. Would they have been placed at such places as Menlo College, the Department of the US Department of Veteran Affairs, bone appetit, Salesforce, the Ritz Carlton, the San Francisco library, Amazon, San Jose department of recreation and of course, Stanford University. Next slide, please.

Unknown Speaker 2:01:16

So some laws that are protecting those with neurodivergent conditions as mentioned by previous speakers. the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination and employment mandates federal agencies to provide technology for those with disabilities to perform their work. The Americans Disabilities Act, which was amended, originally, which was originally 1990 and then amended in 2008 prohibits unjust termination and retaliation for employers in response to employees asserting their rights.

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government entities must make all resources available to individuals and disability status cannot be used as reasoning for not hiring the person. Next slide, please.

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So more laws, as mentioned before, we Ola, the work force, innovation opportunities acts, no federal funding will be provided to programs that

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unfortunately have just discrimination. One Stop systems must be set up to provide case management housing and employment opportunities for those with neurodivergent conditions. Next slide, please.

Unknown Speaker 2:02:34

So how someone receives supported employment services. So largely, we pull from a pool, we pull from a pool of applicants that are provided through the Department of Rehabilitation, they are notified by a client either coming in and asking for services or someone is referred to them, then the client chooses a vendor such as Jobs Plus, and then the vendor Jobs Plus in this case would perform an intake, employment prep and job development. Next slide, please.

Unknown Speaker 2:03:09

So the current standard for the IPS model, individual placement and support IPS model, client choice, as mentioned before is the most important part. As I mentioned, it is based on their skills and abilities, and then what the market will bear at that particular time. We believe in rapid job search, which means that we are going to initiate outreach to employers as soon as possible prepare the clients for those meetings. And we are always searching for a competitive wage, and then we provide job support. So as you can see, in the picture, there is a sheltered workshop, which is obviously outdated. And

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society as a whole wants to move away in my experience from this type of sub minimum wage. It's not competitive work, and they also come with few benefits. Next slide please.

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So our services through supported employment applicant preparation for competitive jobs, we will tailor a resume to meet the needs highlighting the skills and abilities of the client for the employer will solicit information about job openings and interviews from employers, by our job developers going directly to the employers and talking to them about their past experiences either with supported employment or making sure that if they haven't had experience with supported employment, that we can help them understand that process. We that the clients experience and preparation for jobs they apply for. We simulate job interviews for the clients, we do videotape them to make them

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give them a better understanding about the way they're being perceived and viewed when they interview and then also going through the mock interview process.

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asking some of those difficult questions, such as why you might have a gap in employment, or why indeed you want to work for this particular employer, which is one of the most important. Another nice thing that's provided by the Department of Rehabilitation is the funds so we can secure appropriate interview attire. When you feel good, you look good. And with all the other things that precede the interview, we put the person in the best chance to succeed. Next slide, please.

Unknown Speaker 2:05:32

Okay, so job coaching, a lot of people are curious about job coaching, we either do it on or off site, it largely depends on one or two things, either the clients choice to have it on or off site, or how we can work with the employer to ensure that Either one works best for client success. So what it is essentially is training above and beyond what the employer might already provide. We try to establish relationships with co workers for potential mentorship, and natural job supports. I'll talk about that a little later. building a relationship between the client and the employer is key pi, we want to empower the client to seek additional training and opportunity for advancement of their own volition. And we want to instill a certain level of confidence through the coaching, transition the client to working more independent and gradually throughout the first 90 days of the job. And then our service fades out. And depending on which funding source it can go on indefinitely or it can go sort of intermediately as the person needs. Next slide please.

Unknown Speaker 2:06:38

So, placement and sustained employment success, kaminer is a industry leader. In successful employment outcomes, a vast majority of clients coming to caminar are placed with within the job within 90 days of coming to intake, and a higher percentage of those people will last at least 90 days. And then much further on. Of course caminar prides itself on working directly with the employer and coach to create a, like a triangle, if you will, and with the client to ensure success. Next slide, please.

Unknown Speaker 2:07:17

Long term support there are 21 regional centers in California that pick up often where the Department of Rehabilitation leads off in terms of funding for consistent support throughout the job in most cases, independent living skills. iOS workers are another service that is provided by the regional centers. Of course, job coaching, and other support is based on the need and the scope of what the regional center has to offer.

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Next slide, please.

Unknown Speaker 2:07:49

So benefits of working with neuro diverse populations, right. So tapping into a network of potential employees that had been vetted for specific employers based on that person's skills, abilities and education, as I mentioned, providing jobs not only providing jobs not only benefits the employer with a qualified candidate, but also society as a whole. That was mentioned earlier, there are certainly economic contributions because of employment for the community. Increased diversity in the workforce, as mentioned previously, is good for the workforce as a whole. And it companies as all integrates the neuro diverse into society and gives a sense of community to both the employer and the employee. That last statement cannot be under overstated. tax incentives. As mentioned a couple times, though, there's a work tax opportunity credit up to $9,000 to hire those on the autism spectrum and other disabilities. barrier removal credit which is 15,000 a year for qualified expenses, and disabled access credit for companies that are making less than a million dollars a year in total revenue.

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Next slide please.

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So innovations by leading companies to increase work with newer neurodivergent populations as mentioned before a couple of them, so some of them SAP Microsoft MP Morgan, Hewlett, Packard, Freddie Mac, Ernst and Young.

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So they are working very hard to target target recruitment of those on the autism spectrum, and adjusting the traditional interview process to better match the candidates. The autism internship programs, customer onboarding process, taking initiative and providing accommodations, changing company culture, to welcome retain those on the autism spectrum, creating a company sponsored buddy system as I talked before natural supports. job coaches work very hard to ensure that there is inclusion and then a support system. Once

Unknown Speaker 2:10:00

Coaching fades out or decreases to a point where there is a huge amount of hours worked by the client that is not paid for in terms of coaching coverage. So building a buddy system is super important. It's great that these companies are willing to, to really sort of

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grab onto that and make it part of the round. Next slide, please.

Unknown Speaker 2:10:27

So, supports from Stanford to increase companies work with neurodivergent populations. Obviously, the Stanford neuro diversity at work program, their neuro diversity job bank, which is job match with a large pool of candidates, much like the Department of rehab provides to companies like camminare Jobs Plus, next slide, please.

Unknown Speaker 2:10:52

So for more information, feel free to reach out to caminar about any questions about the whole gamut of disabilities, including for the neuro diverse, Stanford, of course, or you can email me directly at Jerry de And then for more information, you can reach out to our executive director who has many years of experience Michael Shaukat at Michael asset or if you're further north, San Francisco jobs So next slide, please.

Unknown Speaker 2:11:33

Again, my references Thank you so much. And I look forward to listening to the rest and fielding some questions.

Unknown Speaker 2:11:45

Thank you, Jerry, so much for your presentation and talking about employment services.

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Your company will be moving along. Whoops.

Unknown Speaker 2:12:00

Our next presenter, I would like to welcome back Dr. Fung, who is the director of center neuro neuro diversity project. Thank you, Dr. Fung. Thank you, Mark.

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I'm going to talk about the strength based model of neuro diversity and how it's

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applied to small business in the neuro diversity at work initiatives. So there are four major components of the strength based model. The first is positive psychology. Second is positive psychiatry. The third is scandalous theory of multiple intelligences. And the third, the fourth is chickering, seven vectors of development. I'll talk about that in a little bit in more detail. We considered neuro diverse conditions as conditions rather than disorders.

Unknown Speaker 2:12:55

And we acknowledge challenges instead of deficits, because a lot of the characteristics of the neuro diverse individuals can actually be spinned as both challenges and strains. It depends on the context. I'll explain more in my presentation tomorrow at six o'clock in the mental health session.

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Apply and we want to apply a stream based model across the entire spectrum of their diverse conditions.

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Positive Psychology was initially started by these two

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psychologists, psychologist Martin Seligman, and my hi HSN Mahi and they basically propose that

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positive psychologies core, our well being contentment, satisfaction, flow, basically is the immersing oneself in an activity and get satisfaction out of it. And the other course our happiness, hope and optimism.

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So basically, when we are thinking about positive psychology, we can think about how to develop someone to be a more positive

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with a lot of the positive attributes of that person, and positive psychology over the last 20 years, have 50 free publish definitions but basically, to summarize this slide is really about strength interests and growth or development.

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Traditional psychiatry and positive psychiatry

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contrast that here, positive psychiatry is really about positive attributes instead of pathology and risk factors. We focus on protective factors and neuroplasticity, traditional psychiatry focus

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On treatments by relieving symptoms through medications and short term psycho therapies, but positive psychiatry is really about increasing wellbeing and growth through psycho educational interventions, which can last for a lifespan. entire lifespan. And test is a small preventative measure.

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Seven factors of development includes developing competence, managing emotions, moving through autonomy toward independence, developing mature interpersonal relationships, establishing identity, developing purpose and developing integrity.

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When we are looking at these seven factors, we asked three questions, how do we help never diverse individuals to achieve these developmental milestones? And the second question is, how do the people around them that can change their environment do anything to help the neuro diverse individuals to achieve these developmental tasks? And the third is, what about the mental health providers? What can they do?

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The fourth component of the string based model is the seven that is the multiple fear the theory of multiple intelligences. So unlike the IQ test, that includes only verbal linguistics, logical mathematical, and visual spatial domains, there are other domains like musical rhythmic bodily kinesthetic, naturalistic, interpersonal is basically the ability to relate with others. intrapersonal is the ability to understand self and existential. So when we are thinking about human abilities, if we are going to go beyond what we are typically thinking about, we can actually discover a lot more strains of people.

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So when we're applying the strength based model to neuro diverse individuals, we focus on how to raise awareness of their personal streams, increase their trust in personal abilities, and help them learn to engage in relationships, as well as increasing their self satisfaction through success.

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If we are able to do that

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in a effective way, then we can move neurodiverse individuals away from negativity and mobility, such as the comorbid conditions, anxiety, depression and executive function, this function, so how about the small businesses,

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Froman about 10 years ago published this paper on positive psychology at the workplace. And I think this is really the biggest contribution on how we can

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view positive psychology to be to be applied to businesses. So basically, what we want to make our workplace better is to really infuse strains, virtues and self determination, just like Dr. De Meyer was talking about, in order to really get people to understand that they can actually make things happen. Despite that, there are a lot of things that you cannot control. So the second is about the workplace, having people to understand neuro diverse and neuro typical people like to understand what how to really communicate with each other better. And when we are able to do that, when we are able to actually understand other people better, there are diverse people. And they will depict typical people, if we are all able to try to understand each other better than we can increase the emotional intelligence in the workplace.

Unknown Speaker 2:19:08

And a lot of the things that are happening in the workplace has more than just cut and dry.

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You do the work or not, at there's actually a lot of interactions and a lot of psychological capital that can be gained. And this is hidden curriculum. And a lot of the time, there's not really a whole lot of explanation for neurodiverse individuals. But if we are very, very deliberate in trying to bring them in, we can actually make them understand how to really develop that psychological capital. So this is going to be helpful to give the organization to have good positive organizational behavior and because of of the better functioning

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The morale would be better and in a team's there's going to be more innovation because there's going to be more ability for people that are having their own unique opinions to be verbalized, and be translated into innovation. And that can lead to great change for the good for the organization. And, and the

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thought that and one thing that sometimes we would want to consider is that a virtuous organization that can foster a sense of meaning for, for all the people in the workplace can really get the organization to be a stronger organization.

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So again, I bring you to this neuro diversity initiatives,

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kind of core is the ecosystem model. So when we are thinking about how to really build the stronger organization, with neuro diverse initiatives, we have to think about all the people that are involved in this ecosystem.

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When we are able to do that, we are going to be able to understand exactly how we can actually make good change for the workplace. So if you are a supervisor or executive, you may be able to actually make a lot of the changes because you can call shots. And because for small businesses, you are more agile, if you're willing to accept neurodiversity, that can actually really distribute, get your ideas distributed to the rest of the organization very quickly.

Unknown Speaker 2:22:02

So our I'm going to, for the sake of time, I'm going to just tell you that we have the neuro diversity at work program, that are helping companies to understand how to build neuro diversity friendly workplaces. And in addition to helping their diverse individuals in the entire employment cycle, we also help employers into entire employment cycle.

Unknown Speaker 2:22:29

And each of the neurodiverse individual with have to support circles. One is the workplace support circle, the other is personal life support circle. And we deliberately make a lot of the connections and support for the neuro diverse individuals and also the employers in order to collectively make the workplace truly neuro diversity friendly. With that, I'm going to end this presentation and let's go to the q&a session.

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Thank you, Dr. Fang.

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I would like to thank all the speakers for the thoughtful and informative presentations. Now I'll turn the tables to doc Meeker. Doc will continue with a q&a until 10:55am. Go ahead, Doug. Thank you, Mark. We've got a lot of questions. So I'm just gonna in a limited amount of time. So one, I just asked that.

Unknown Speaker 2:23:33

Brandon, and Jerry and Stephanie, if you're still out there, if you can take yourself off mute so that we're ready for this. One of the questions, which I think is really important is just around internships. And the The question was, can you speak more about how interns are connected to employers, the best way to go about contacting a potential employer regarding an internship, and how employers are educated about the possible benefits? So how do we get more employers to buy into creating an internship program? Stephanie, are you are you are you on with us? Now? Yeah, I am. I'm currently traveling, but I'm here.

Unknown Speaker 2:24:16

To go. I am I am always stay safe. Right. And, honestly, I think one of the biggest barriers to participation and employment generally, and the neurodivergent community is outreach. And so I truly think that the way that we reach employers is just by talking to them. And either by having a job developer like myself go in and have that conversation, or even tapping businesses that you might have a relationship with. I've had real success with that. And so Truly, I think that the paid internship program specifically, is a great route to Yes, I think the thing we need to do is just make sure employers are aware about it. And it's honestly it's a cold calling, reaching out to your networks and then possibly reaching out to employment specialists such as myself and others on this web.

Unknown Speaker 2:25:00

In order to assess for that, as well. Got it, Brandon, any anything to add? You know, I can't agree more. It's critical to especially for any any population that experiences significant barriers to access. A significant way in is through these employment specialists, business service representatives and the like, especially where there might be an existing IEP. And maybe that IEP may not be aligned to

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employment, it may be a good time now, to go go to your serving serving organizations and say, hey, I've got an individual who we did this plan, but now we'd really like to look at employment, where do we need to start and really start that conversation? Gotcha. Jerry, anything to add to that, I think what people are looking for is, Hey, is there is there some secret not a secret sauce, but some key elements that you've all been able to use in the past to get employers on board with creating these internships? Yeah, I would say most importantly, is networking. And then hiring the right people who aren't afraid to walk through doors, and talk to people get past the gatekeepers, find out who the key hiring managers are, and really present a,

Unknown Speaker 2:26:16

you know, like a host of benefits for hiring people from this particular population. And then, of course, the follow along, ensuring that the person who promises make sure makes sure that all the things promises are delivered on and that creates word of mouth, and of course, more opportunity.

Unknown Speaker 2:26:38

Got it? Got it. So Jerry, well, while we're picking on you, we had a question that came in it says,

Unknown Speaker 2:26:45

Why not give job coaches to everyone and tailor the recruitment process to best practices for everyone, instead of siloing people on the spectrum into one program that would benefit many, such as individuals with learning disabilities PTSD, instead? Or is there any talk of this? Okay, that's a lot. So

Unknown Speaker 2:27:07

I'll try to break that one down a little bit for you. So, like I alluded to, in my presentation, everything is about client choice. And for, for our end, we always try to hire Java developers that are open to learning about different the end diverse populations, right department regardless of disability, and then sending them out well fortified to represent those people from each particular

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disability for lack of a better way of putting it.

Unknown Speaker 2:27:39

Got it. Got it engineering, there was another question here again, picking on you, because you're the easiest one of my spreadsheet right at the moment.

Unknown Speaker 2:27:47

What what are the hiring statistics for neuro diverse employees that at some of the companies that have been reading the question, yeah, I read some of the questions. So I'm sorry to say that I wouldn't have that information that would be sort of information that they that the employer themselves would had, and I would think that would be somewhat proprietary, proprietary to that particular organization. So I'm not sure I just know that the ones that I listed are open and have a lot of

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information about what they do. And we ourselves have had people, you know, other companies such as Salesforce, there's there's a long list of major employers that are interested in working with a neurodivergent population. Got it? So Dr. Fung, a question for you.

Unknown Speaker 2:28:41

In addition to the small and medium sized businesses is a source of jobs for the neuro diverse What do you think about universities and colleges as employers for this same population in particular, public universities that might have a mandate?

Unknown Speaker 2:28:56

Yeah, that's a great question. And at Stanford, we are exactly doing that. We are we have already started hiring people on the spectrum on campus. So there are others that are doing the same, like Rutgers is doing this.

Unknown Speaker 2:29:15

JAXA is doing this. And University of Maryland is doing this. So this is not new. We are really trying to tell more people that we are doing it and definitely there are every week, almost, I get some question about what we are doing at Stanford. And, and definitely we're spreading the word.

Unknown Speaker 2:29:43

Got it? And I think this is a question I believe this is. This is really for for the group

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that I asked. The question is, how do we balance hope and Blaine, do you feel there's enough acknowledgement of the realities of disabled

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marginalization in the narrow, diverse movement? Or is there too much? Can we as a community come to accept that our experiences are diverse, and when one person experiences is helpful, others may experience as a reproach?

Unknown Speaker 2:30:14

Let's start with you, Jerry, since I'm picking on you, give me an initial response to that. I don't think there is enough.

Unknown Speaker 2:30:25

I think the more word that we get out there, and the more people that are willing to walk through doors, and I think you'd be shocked at how many people even though they have people within their own families with disabilities don't understand the scope of what's possible. So I think getting the information out there and making yourself known. And, you know, touting you know, some some past success that you've had with other companies, of course, remembering HIPAA, but certainly,

Unknown Speaker 2:30:56

for lack of better word, just really highlighting all the all the great accomplishments that people have already achieved, and that what can come in the future. Brandon, anything to add to that?

Unknown Speaker 2:31:09

No, one of the trends I've seen in our public workforce system is a push toward competitive integrated employment, which is a critical effort, obviously. But one of the things I think we see speaking to kind of the marginalization issues of access is once you start pushing things like CIE of certain portion or segment of the population that also gets left behind. And there's less access to employment supports like sheltered employment or supported employment resources, or resources, which are still critical

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in these programs. And so, the critical the critical Crux here is the nature of a partnership between workforce service providers. And maybe a connection to something like the regional center between providers can help maybe kind of ease some of these issues of marginalization, where there are more human centered approaches to service delivery versus programmatic barriers to success. Got it. So I think we're gonna have to wrap up, I just want to add one, one personal note, and that I have an 18 year old on the spectrum, and he has just started an apprenticeship with a farm here. And just the idea of him learning what work is, you know, there's a timecard, their job tasks, all of those things are, are so badly needed as a first step. And I think if we can find more ways to create these types of internship and apprenticeship programs for this population, that's really going to set the table for how they're going to grow downstream. And I'm seeing it firsthand. Trust me, any of that. I want to thank all of the participants. There are some other questions. I'm sorry, we weren't able to get to them, but we'll do our best to answer them. One on One, Mark.

Unknown Speaker 2:32:52

thank thank you, everyone, for the speakers and Doug. It's been a really nice, meaningful session. With that. We're gonna take a five minute break until 11 o'clock and we're very excited about our next keynote speaker, Sarah Rankin. We'll see you all soon.

Unknown Speaker 2:36:45

Welcome back. For those of you who just joined Welcome to the Stanford neuro diversity summit. We'd like to let you know that all the sessions are recorded and transcribed. Please check out some website for YouTube videos of the previous days of the conference. But those who have registered today and have not received out zoom webinar links, please utilize our YouTube live stream on our summit website.

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All questions from the audience will be submitted through the q&a function at the bottom of your screen. The moderators will try to cover as many questions as possible. And after this presentation at between 12 and one, there is going to be networking sessions for those that have signed up. Please check your emails to make sure that you are getting the right directions for joining.

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Now it is my distinct pleasure to introduce Dr. Sarah Rankin. Dr. Rankin graduated with first class honors from King's College London earned her PhD in pharmacology also from King's College, and then postdoc training at UC San Diego and Cancer Research UK Linda. She then joined Imperial College London in 1995. And she's now a professor in leukocytes and stem cell biology in the Faculty of Medicine.

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Sarah is a world leader in the field of regenerative pharmacology, inventing drugs to help the body repair itself after injury. She is also involved in many interdisciplinary collaborative projects with physicists, material scientists and engineers investigating blaster, a blast injuries and cartilage repair and immune response to biomaterials. Throughout her career, she has been actively involved in public engagement and is the National Heart and Lung Institute's lead for public engagement.

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In this capacity, she has been the lead scientists in a number of high profile collaborative projects with artists

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like to heart and lung repair shop and palaces. Professor Rankin is neuro diverse, and in recent years have been working on a project to the power UK to make STEM education in schools and high education accessible for students with specific learning disorders.

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Professor Rankin's keynote presentation is titled, nearly diversity in STEM science, technology engineering and medicine, education and careers. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Rankin.

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Unknown Speaker 2:40:13

Great. So I'm going to share my screen now.

Unknown Speaker 2:40:28

Okay, well, thank you so much for the invite, it's really a great honor for me to be here today. Most of you will not know me because I am a new person on the block if you like, because this isn't my area of expertise, but it is my lived experience. And this is really, in part where I'm coming from. So I am a professor. And hence I'm sitting here as the sort of embodiment of

Unknown Speaker 2:41:05

Oh, the the lost that word. So there you go, proof that.

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dyslexia and dyspraxic. Anyway, I'm moving swiftly on. So as I said, not an expert in neuro diversity and as Lee as

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trained as a pharmacologist. But what I have done throughout my whole career, is to be very passionate about outreach. And this is trying to encourage other young people to get into STEM careers. And originally, when I started out as one of the very few women in, in science in, in terms of in our department, there were no female professors. And so

Unknown Speaker 2:41:54

one of the things that I have been doing throughout my career is trying to inspire people by doing really interesting and inspiring outreach activities. And this was just showing you here are our sort of own bakeoff event that we did, and obviously talking to lots of girls. Now, if things have changed since then, we now have a department that has over 50% women, and we have lots of girls doing STEM subjects, maybe not as many as we want. But still, things have changed dramatically over the last sort of 25 years, certainly, that I had been at Imperial. And we have done that through our outreach programs, but also by changing things from within, and changing the culture of the workplace, and making it more

Unknown Speaker 2:42:45

more inviting for young women. And so I've been through this process once. And now when I'm thinking about that, in terms of neuro diversity, I'm trying to do the same sort of process. But this time, I know what I need to do. And so I'm hoping that I can sort of really accelerate that change. And also, I am really confident that a lot of the changes that we need to make are not as dramatic as they were when we were trying to get women into science. So we don't have to, for example, build a nursery.

Unknown Speaker 2:43:25

So one of the things that I am known for is my creativity. And I bring that to all aspects of my work, whether it be the research, or the outreach, and these are some of the outreach projects that I have worked on. And they don't look probably to you very sciency. But there's is science underneath that. And so this is what we do, we sort of attract people into interesting looking events and projects. And then we talked to them about science and stem cells, etc.

Unknown Speaker 2:44:03


Unknown Speaker 2:44:04

neuro diversity and science.

Unknown Speaker 2:44:09

If I show you this picture, you can see lots of sorts of old, famous, famous, famous people who

Unknown Speaker 2:44:18

it's generally believed that these guys were all neuro diverse.

Unknown Speaker 2:44:24

A lot of them were indeed autistic.

Unknown Speaker 2:44:29

And that's great. But the problem is,

Unknown Speaker 2:44:36

we don't have so many of those people. Those are sort of role models today. So we had Steve Jobs we had

Unknown Speaker 2:44:45

Steven Hawkins, who were both known to be dyslexic, and we know that they had huge impact in their fields of science and stem. We also know some other people. If we look today

Unknown Speaker 2:45:00

And we think, okay, if I'm looking for dyslexic scientists or scientists with ADHD or that or that are autistic, I can find a few people on the internet. But it's very difficult. And this is my first issue that I have, that there are relatively few neuro diverse stem role models. And when we were talking about getting girls into STEM, the way we did it was we went as women into schools. And as young, you know, when we were when I was in my 20s, I was going into schools and trying to encourage more girls to get into science. And so we need those younger role models to be trying to entice neuro diverse students into science, because there's this saying, if you can't see it, you can't be it.

Unknown Speaker 2:45:51

So I have, there's the there are a lot of problems. And there are very few neuro diverse stem role models. That's my first issue. And there's also this issue that we know, as you, you're all very well, that many students fail in school. And I'm not going to read this out. And if you haven't got the time to be able to read the whole thing now do look it up. Because this is

Unknown Speaker 2:46:23

john Gordon's,

Unknown Speaker 2:46:25

one of his school reports back from 1949. And if you imagine in 1964, he was actually in California doing research. And it's that research that led him to get the Nobel Prize. And so he was pretty much

Unknown Speaker 2:46:46

you know, his teachers told him, he was never going to be a scientist. Similar thing with this person. This is Dame Sally Davis, who was our chief medical officer in the UK, she didn't get past her 11 Plus, she couldn't get into Grammar School in the UK. But she clearly went on and succeeded. It is a very common thing you all be aware of, you know, school is not a good place for neurodiverse people.

Unknown Speaker 2:47:16

And so these neuro diverse students we know are not thriving in schools that they might be surviving. Some of them aren't surviving, ADHD, ADHD, pupils very often get excluded. autistic students very often bullied end up being home educated. So and then the other students, people like myself, high ability students, maybe with dyslexia, dyspraxia, some sort of combination of neuro diversity. They're not, they're underperforming. And this is because the teaching is inaccessible for us, we're not being taught in the way we need to be taught. And the assessments are a nightmare.

Unknown Speaker 2:48:00

So I could go on forever in a day about problems at school, but I realized that this is going to be the subject of further debate later today. But I think these are things that we all recognize. And we do have issues in the UK, because our science teachers aren't taught about neuro diversity. And so they don't, they're not even aware that they should be teaching these students in a different way.

Unknown Speaker 2:48:28

But I think my main problem with what's going on in schools is this. And it's the fact that we are trying to not only teach those students in, you know, a way that isn't great for them. But we are also not assessing their strengths. And we've heard a lot of talk in this conference about what the strength of those students are. And

Unknown Speaker 2:48:58

indeed, you know, when we are doing the sort of exams that we are doing in the UK, certainly, we are still back in the dark ages, where we are except we are assessing primarily ability to recall. So in science objects in particular ability to recall, you know, equations and lots of sort of information, you know, all the human anatomy, why do we need to be able to recall it, when we've all got one of these, you know, it's not that important anymore.

Unknown Speaker 2:49:32

We are not assessing a student's ability to be creative and innovative. And when I showed you all those amazing scientists, that's what they did. They were inventors.

Unknown Speaker 2:49:46

So one of the things we know is neuro diverse.

Unknown Speaker 2:49:51

Students are performing in STEM subjects. So in science subjects at GCSE which in the UK, these are taken at age six

Unknown Speaker 2:50:00

Steen, and I won't go into this details. But this was a huge study covering over a longitudinal study of over 1000 students. And what it clearly showed was that students that had a specific learning difference, but what understatement it. So these are students that, you know, there isn't even the funding to get them a statement because they're not deemed bad enough. They don't have a learning disability. They they are high ability students, but they have a neuro diversity. These students have, there's a massive gap in attainment gap in how they are achieving. And so this is a real issue.

Unknown Speaker 2:50:45

So, the other thing is that teachers are not really encouraging these students to do STEM subjects. And in fact, my son who's dyslexic was told he couldn't do triple science, you know, they advised him not to do science because it was, you know, too hard. And because they're naturally creative, they are being sort of channeled into these creative industries. And we know that, you know, there are amazing people, amazingly creative people that are successful, you know, these are all dyslexic people that have been incredibly successful in the arts. And that's great. Likewise, we know about these sort of dyslexic people that are, you know, successful as, as architects. But

Unknown Speaker 2:51:36

we also know that there are a lot of peace students that leave school, and this is, again comes back to this, the fact that school can be very problematic. And students can get very disenchanted excetera, if I'm putting it politely, and so they will leave school, but then they will go on to do amazing things, and they will be successful as entrepreneurs. Now one of the things with in the science community, and when we're teaching seminar day, certainly at Imperial, we're very much into entrepreneurship, young people genuinely are very much into entrepreneurship, and inventing things and being an entrepreneur go hand in hand. And so this is one of the reasons why I'm desperate to get more neurodiverse people into science.

Unknown Speaker 2:52:30

So neuro diverse, people are being encouraged into the creative, interesting, some of them leaving education. And for all these reasons, I've mentioned and have been mentioned before, in this conference, neuro diverse students can leave school, lacking self efficacy, and lacking that sort of confidence that they could be good at things particularly good at stem.

Unknown Speaker 2:53:00

And the result is that we have relatively no numbers of neuro diverse students studying stem STEM subjects in higher education. And if I just look at Imperial, we have less than 8% students looking at all types of disability, this is the number of students that we have at an ad Imperial. Whereas if we go around the corner to our colleagues at the Royal College of Art, they have 29% of their students that are dyslexic. And they're very proud of that, because they know they have managed to capture all these creative students and creative minds. And I'm jealous of them, because we need them at Imperial, we need these creative, inventive students. Because if we don't have them, you know, if you look at all the inventions that these people are produced, you know, we've gone from, you know, the electric light bulb planes, you know, computers, PCs, Microsoft, Macintosh, and everything you can think of, you know, even you know, think about Cavendish, no, he invented chemistry and physics, you know, just two minor things in his lifetime. And then we got Louis paster over here, and we're living in the time of COVID. You know, this is the guy that invented vaccination, we cannot afford to let neuro diverse students that are interested or have a passion for science, not be entered into not be sort of feel that they have a place within higher education to study science.

Unknown Speaker 2:54:49

And so we need to think about what those barriers are, and try and really sort of knock them down. And I'm really confident that

Unknown Speaker 2:55:00

You know, we think about, you know, all the strengths that people have been talking about. And if I think about, you know, all these great scientists, you know, why is it the neuro diverse people can be really good scientists and amazing scientists, some of them? Well, because of creativity, innovation, you know, big picture thinking ability to link disparate ideas. And one of the things you noticed at the beginning, and Lawrence was mentioning, I do a lot of interdisciplinary work, I find it very easy to work, whether it's with artists, or with physicists, or material scientists, that comes very naturally. And I think this sort of also this silanization of the subjects is something that we really have to get away from, if we want to move forward and be much more creative and disruptive with tech, with technologies. And so there are lots of really important core skills that neurodiverse people have, you know, thinking about ADHD, that ability to hyperfocus and complete tasks. And then with autism, you know, that the attention to detail, pattern recognition, these are and also the sense of really wanting to to go for the truth and being really trustworthy. I mean, these are really critical and important characteristics for scientists.

Unknown Speaker 2:56:32

And I think we've heard previously, they also all these skills are aligned with what people can consider 21st century career skills. And so that's very much. And we've, I'm sure, people have mentioned this before, how everybody, you know, that's neuro diverse, has this spiky profile. And this could be me. So yeah, you know, I have a problem reading, I read slowly. This isn't a problem for me as a scientist, because actually, I want to read the detail. And sometimes you know that so reading slowly, is actually a good thing, time management and those sort of things. Yes, they are challenging. But there are ways as we all know, of dealing with that. And technologies are really helping us there with that with new apps, etc. So we're moving now, we're actually in the fourth revolution, we've all heard about the fourth revolution. This is artificial intelligence, intelligence. And this is where it gets really interesting for me, because what I've realized stop in talking to businesses, that are really sort of picking up on this whole thing about neuro diversity, and lots of those have been mentioned already. But businesses are really thinking, Okay, you know, artificial intelligence is what's going to replace straight line thinkers. So what we need actually, is some now sort of the more complex nonlinear thinkers, and we need these people because we have all this technologies.

Unknown Speaker 2:58:09

And we now need people to come and innovate with it, and be creative. And so this is why there are a lot of STEM businesses that really want to recruit these these complex nonlinear thinkers. So it's not just, you know, having the autistic students, but it's also having people that are dyslexic or have ADHD, or or dyspraxia. And these are just businesses that I've worked with, in particular that happen interest in that, and we know many of this, and classically, the one gch cue, I mean, we all know about Alan Turing being autistic and yeah, his fantastic contribution to to science and everything, and GC HQ. Now, their recruitment process is such that they have recruited, you know, and in their workforce, they have 25% of their employees are dyslexic, because they are amazing problem solvers. So this is the message that I really want to get to young people, that if you are neuro diverse, then you do have a future in STEM, and it's now now could be your time, you know, you could be incredibly creative and a scientist and have entrepreneurship skills. And these companies are looking for you. And there's lots of

Unknown Speaker 2:59:35

organizations, not for profits, etc, that can work with you to help link you up with those jobs.

Unknown Speaker 2:59:44

So this term neuro diversity, I guess, for me, as a scientist, I have a little bit of an issue because it's bio diversity neuro diversity neuro, you know, covers if you talk about bio diversity, you're covering everything like why is neuro diversity, the one that

Unknown Speaker 3:00:00

I like and I think it was an American one is this twice exceptional term or the two e term. And I guess I like to do e because that seems a bit scientific to me. So someone who has high ability with a learning difference is thought to be to E. Hence, that's why I called my project to empower. Many of these people are very effective in masking, then your adversity, I actually wasn't diagnosed until my late 40s. And actually after that, this is when I've done the research and I've really sort of got an understanding of, of my personal sort of strengths and weaknesses. And I realized, yeah, how much did I mask company years, in fact that now you know, most of my sort of family and colleagues don't actually believe that I'm, you're like, oh, watch it on it. But anyway, lots of these people are undiagnosed at some point in their in higher education or work. So to empower project was developed to really start to celebrate neuro diversity in the context of STEM subjects, and to make stem really accessible for these students to add them in time education,

Unknown Speaker 3:01:18

to enable neuro diverse students to fulfill their potential in their STEM subjects. So this first started off with very lucky to collaborate with Dr. Susan Smith, who had expertise in teaching twice exceptional students. And she came over to the UK and worked with some fantastic teachers that I had been working with over many years. And I'm sure these are really key for us in universities to be able to do great outreach, we really need these committed, and teachers that go above and beyond. And these two have been amazing comedy and bargaining had been amazing and in helping with this project. And what we did was we started to develop some bespoke workshops for students. So as I said, I've done outreach, I've done all these sort of workshops. So we thought, Okay, how do we take something that we would normally do for a whole group of unit mix students, and now make it bespoke for autistic students or make it bespoke for students with dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, and so we worked. And in fact, at this time, I was very, you know, strange how things happen, isn't it? And Sienna actually contacted me Sienna casselton, who's going to be speaking later in the conference. And at that time, she was interested in in doing a sort of STEM project. Anyway, we talked and I was telling her about this project. And so she got involved. And she was great, because it was great having an autistic person to help design the environments, and to make sure that every level of detail with thought about in terms of how to make the students feel really comfortable and, and safe. And so for example, with the autistic students, we have the red and the green badges that they could wear if they did or didn't want to be taught to. And just very things, you can see the room here we have all the blind stand we've taken, we've taken the chameleon and all the things that are normally in our outreach teaching lab out of there. So we have minimal distractions, no everything that we could do, we did.

Unknown Speaker 3:03:43

And then we got the professors in to teach the students so here we have our professor in in pure mathematics, who is teaching these autistic students. And so when you have a professor teaching a student, they can stretch them, stretch them, stretch them. And it's just amazing to see. The other thing this is a colleague of mine Sunday, who I've worked with for many years doing outreach, we do them particularly for the bane students. This This was a civil engineering workshop. And this one I love because we had the dyslexic students here and we thought, right, let's see if they're entrepreneurs. So rather than just given them a design, with balsa wood and glue and glue guns, what we decided to do was we made a menu, and we said to the students, okay, so you're going to get $200 each, and this is you can use this $200 to buy information on what the sort of ideal bridge structure is, or you can use it to buy

Unknown Speaker 3:04:50

the glue guns, the glue, the balsa wood, etc. And they were in small groups. And what happened which was an absolute delight for me was that one

Unknown Speaker 3:05:00

These groups of students saw. And they thought, right, they used all their money to buy the glue guns. So they then suddenly had a monopoly on the glue guns. And that meant that every other group had to then come to them to buy, to be able to use the glue guns for so many minutes. And at the end of that activity, you had some students that had built these beautiful bridges. But then you had this group that hadn't even bothered building the bridge, but they had money sort of stuck all over them. And they were so excited by the fact that they've won because they've made the most money. And they're, we'd sort of managed to uncover, you know, our entrepreneurs. And we're really excited. So what I'm doing is working with people now and developing different workshops. So we've got astrophysics workshop and other ones. One of the things we found was that this, these students traveled a long way to come to our workshops. And some of them had never been to London before. But they were so excited about coming to Imperial, and to do a workshop. And the parents were just so excited. So I didn't mention we ran alongside the workshop for the students, we ran parallel workshop for the parents.

Unknown Speaker 3:06:26

And it was a great way for parents to network. And the comments we've got back from students and parents for doing those workshops, we're just way exceeded anything that we've had for any other workshops that I've ever done. So it was really, really rewarding. And so at the moment, we're working, we've got funding from Royal Academy of Engineering, we're working with the National computing Museum at Bletchley Park, and we are developing another workshop was going to be face to face. But you know, times are such that we are now developing this remotely, we're really excited. We're going to be running this on the 12th of December. Yeah, it's, it's going to be a lot of

Unknown Speaker 3:07:14

Yeah, it's called the Enigma to empower workshop. So this is going to be just for autistic students. So we're really looking forward to that. One of the other things we started and we sadly, had to, to sort of abandon was a project we had with much younger pupils from

Unknown Speaker 3:07:35

in Camden in London, and we started working with them. And they were a complete delight. I mean, we had these students in years, five, six, so they're sort of age 1010, or 11. And we would extracting DNA from strawberries and everything. And yet the questions that they came out with were just amazing. I mean, just off top of my head, you know, do aliens have DNA? You know, so incredible. So, one of the one when we were doing one of these workshops, one of the parents was asking me, Well, what do you do at Imperial, you know, what do you do to accommodate for the students? And how do you treat them and how, you know, dad, and I suddenly, you know, that really sort of took me aback. And I thought, yeah, I'm there. But I haven't really thought that and I went back, and obviously, because I'm, you know, Professor, I've got my research, but I also do a lot of teaching, and I have my own Master's in genes, drugs and stem cells. And so I'm looking at the masters. And then I'm going to talk to people in the education unit and people in the disability service and saying, Okay, guys, we, you know, we need to be doing something. Luckily, we had developed this inclusive teaching strategy a few years back at Imperial. And so we were able to apply for some internal funding to actually start a project, which is about making teaching inclusive, that Imperial, for these students with specific learning differences. And so one of the things we're doing is going around giving a lot of talks, raising awareness, to other academics about the differences because most academics are completely unaware, even though probably a lot of them are neuro diverse, but just have never had a diagnosis.

Unknown Speaker 3:09:29

We provide

Unknown Speaker 3:09:31


Unknown Speaker 3:09:33

excuse me, imperil, has invested in a lot of free assistive technologies. And I think this is the key about being inclusive and universal design. We invested in the assistive technology such that we could get that to all staff and all students, and then we give training on it. And for students, we advertise that training as study efficiency training. And if you imagine some of these

Unknown Speaker 3:10:00

Students that are using that we have a lot of international students. So when we're offering,

Unknown Speaker 3:10:07

you know, spell x or something like Grammarly, you know, that's great for international students just as much as it is for the dyslexic students. So we're not really, you know, we want to make this available for everybody.

Unknown Speaker 3:10:23

And we've obviously making our teaching materials as accessible, giving them in different formats and things like that. But the main thing is getting back to assessment. Because as you might have gathered, I've got this bit of a bugbear about exams. So I did something quite radical last year, and took the exams out of my Master's Course. And this caused a lot of problems, you know, with with other people sort of involved in running the masters. But anyway, you know, we do have problems, you know, exams and extended essays are a major problem for students, if they're, for example, dyslexic is Brexit. And so what we did was replace the exams with multiple authentic assessments. And one of those was grant writing, obviously, data analysis, we did public engagement as an activity, we did, you know, creating a graphical abstract of a, of a, of a research article, because that's something you have to be able to do now. So if you read a research article, you have to write an executive summary. And you also have to be able to write a graphical, a graph, create a graphical abstract. So we are changing the way we assessing It was super successful. Last year, the students loved it, they felt like they came out with with better skills, they were obviously didn't have the stress. And because we were in COVID, year, it was great, because we didn't have to, we weren't running around trying to, you know, see how we could do exams remotely, etc.

Unknown Speaker 3:11:58

So as I say, assistive technologies, there's something, these are the ones some, a few of the ones that we are investing mindview. You know, this just shows you I mean, this is just one of my students and their projects. But you know, this is the way my my brain works. It's sort of, you know, everything is networked. And I don't see things in a linear way. And so I, you know, one of the, the science research projects, I get the students to create mind view mind maps, or any sort of Mind Map, because then they have the experience. And it makes because one of the barriers for this is students not making the time to learn the software, even though the software can be really easy to use. I mean, I can use it so easy for anyone. And so once we've got them over that, and we've got them all sort of using mind maps, they can then choose No, this isn't for me, or this really helps me. And the great thing for any of you that haven't worked with a mind map is that you create it like this, but then a single button, it will transform into your Word document. So the other thing that I've been doing sort of that has evolved as part of this project, I've been talking about it in other universities, to research institutes to learn societies and to some stem businesses. And what I've been doing, it's about raising the issue of neuro diversity in the STEM workplace. And this is about thinking about the employer experience. So, you know, because at a university, we have employers and employees the same as anywhere else. So it's thinking, Okay, it's not just thinking about, okay, we have to consider this when we're educating students, you have to consider this because, you know, some of your academics are neuro diverse, some of your admin staff and neuro diverse. So how do we all get along? And so, you know, this is a, you know, in that, in that way, we're thinking about it in the context of a workplace. And so one of the things is, is getting, and helping some of these

Unknown Speaker 3:14:07

some of these stem industries to develop their networks, their staff networks, and this is one thing that we've done at Imperial. And because, you know, I'm one of those people, I can't just

Unknown Speaker 3:14:24

be satisfied. We're doing anything by halves. So, because I now have collaborators as I work across all the sort of local institutes, so within the Royal College of Art, the Royal College of Music, and the VNA, my favorite Museum in London. So, we have, I have collaborators within those Institute's that are all neuro diverse Surprise, surprise. And so what we have done is to set up a staff and student network and for allies as well. And so we have just

Unknown Speaker 3:15:00

started this and we had planned to do some face to face really fun activities. But obviously we were restricted now with lockdown. So we are having a series of networking events. And our next one, our next one will be on Wednesday in a couple of days. So, yeah, this is very exciting. And I'm really looking forward to some of the collaborative projects that are going to come out of this. And one, for example, one of the things that we are hoping the reason we have a staff and a student network is we will hope that we will help be the role models for those students. But we want to learn from those students. So at the moment, they're great, we'll be able to ask those students about remote working and what works for them and what doesn't, and how we how we need to modify things for them. We can also have really interesting conversations with our colleagues at the Royal College of Art, in terms of how they assess creativity. I mean, one of the things that they do, which I am trying to sort of push Imperial towards is that they use multiple ways of assessing something. So for example, at the end of term, if they you don't have to just write a written dissertation, you could put it in the form of a video, or you could create a an oral presentation. So I think the idea of being able to have you assessments that match your strengths is really the way forward.

Unknown Speaker 3:16:38

And so we all accept that, you know, we have challenges if you know, so undoubtedly, you know, and the word that I forgot right at the beginning that obviously came to me halfway through this speech was imposter syndrome. So I was thinking, yes, I am a professor and I'm sitting here sort of as the embodiment of imposter syndrome. So sorry.

Unknown Speaker 3:17:08

Oh, I've frozen now.

Unknown Speaker 3:17:13

So I'm just going to continue.

Unknown Speaker 3:17:21

Sorry, Lawrence, can you tell me if you can hear me or somebody speak because I can, we can hear you.

Unknown Speaker 3:17:30

You can you can hear me, but you can't see me. But I'm really I'm just about to wrap up. Now I just had the final slide was just sort of showing really how this outreach projects so some people, and especially scientists tend in the UK tend to be a bit sniffy about the sort of value of doing outreach. I think it's incredibly important. I really want to try and get you know, all these neuro diverse young people I want, you know, encouraged them into STEM, I think the future can be stem for them. And, and yes, just to show how that this has led to many more collaborative projects and interesting avenues for me to explore. And I'm also really interested in in doing some real research about the sort of lived experience of, of neuro diverse scientists.

Unknown Speaker 3:18:29

So yeah, I just end there. But if you are a neuro diverse scientist, please connect with me.

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