Belonging in the Workplace: A Conversation With An All-Autistic Panel of Professionals - Shared screen with speaker view
Who can see your viewing activity?
So excited to be here to listen and learn from this panel!
Hello everyone! Thanks so much for being here, today! From Olympia, WA, USA. Where are you tuning in from?
Yay! Mt. View, CA :0)
David is from TX our host
From Baltimore, MD.
Hi Stephanie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So good to see you here.
Yay for captions
THOMAS ILAND from Santa Clarita, CA
Howdy from Houston, TX
Gig Harbor, WA here. Hi everyone!
Hey fam! Very happy to be here.
Brooklyn, NY… looking forward to the panel
Hey y'all, I'm from Humble, a suburb of Houston, TX!
Hi, Here from Orange County, CA
Hello from Holland!
Hey Magnus! Welcome to the ND party!
San Antonio, Texas!
David used to live in Austin TX :)
woops meant to send this here...hi everyone, this is Tas, here in Colorado
Yessss for representing panelists who aren't speaking! Thank you.
Hello from Phoenix, AZ.
Hey Marcelle! <3
Ohey Magnus; good to see you!
Love when there are Auties I know on here
So many friends. Hi! After a tough Autism Acceptance Month, we’re on friendly ground here. Very happy to be here.
Magnus - I agree so much
Lyric I see you. :)
Hi everyone! I live in California.
I feel like I'm fangirling at a concert right now!
We can rest easy knowing that we are on friendly ground here. :) So true. Pretty profound, if you ask me!
Hi, Amy Root!
I was looking forward to this all day!
Hi All, I’m Kellie Heistand, a Quality Analyst here at Ultranauts. (Pronouns are she/her and they/them.) I’ve been here for a year and I typically work on accessibility projects. I’m autistic and I have family members (and friends!) that are autistic.
Love seeing non-speaker representation
Me too, Marcelle!! It makes me so happy.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE having non-speaking representation. :)
Great to see the inclusion of non-speaking panelists.
Join our family at Ultranauts to get an Avatoon! :)
Learning lots and inspired by the content and presenters (dialled in from Manchester, UK)
Very similar experience and I love this definition, thank you
Me, too @Kim!
I feel that so deep, Fred. My daughter was diagnosed and I’ve noticed many challenges I’ve had my entire life that has motivated me to get tested in June. So powerful.
see neuroclastic.com for some providers listed for diagnosis
Where is untranauts located? Is it just a online non-profit. Do you get paid working for ultranauts? Dianne
As a client of Ultranauts, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Fred and want to say big thanks, even though you’ve moved onto other projects (and we love working with the folks who’ve filled your shoes, too)… also, that was some really insightful reflection and information
This is so inspiring!
paid employees with competitive salaries ultranauts.co
Dr Who <3 <3 <3
located in U.S. and Canada all remote
Ultranauts is a fully remote company with employees in 30 states. We are a for-profit company and all positions are paid positions. Primarily full time, and some part time roles.
Kelly is my-kind-of-people! :)
My son was diagnosed in 2014 but neither my husband nor I have ever been tested. I have heard that it can be difficult to get a diagnosis as an adult, as in - finding a practitioner who can evaluate. Did you find that you were "fast-tracked" to get a diagnosis due to your son, or did you experience long waiting lists and hurdles to getting seen?
This is so incredible. Thank you, Kelly. I understand. For me it's the show The Office. :-)
Hey Arnold for me!
(And I should add, I see Marcie's comment re: neuroclastic)
A big thing that helped me with adult diagnosis was to document as well as possible traits that appeared early in my life during childhood. It's all about establishing that it's always been this way for you.
I love this point of creating space for belonging with other autistics. I would love to know how a predominantly NT company can create both inclusion and close connected experiences for NG employees.
Kelly, I’m sitting here with my autistic 9yo daughter who loves your story. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, Autumn!
“Neurovariant” … I dig it. These natural variations of minds are what make us better together as a society.
Kellie, you’re definitely not alone in a deep appreciation of Dr Who! Do you feel like your attraction to making things concrete has helped with doing QA work?
Is everyone aware of autism? Yes? OK, mission accomplished. We can go home now.
@Michael - Yes it really helps with being methodological and thorough
Hi!!! I run the NeuroDivergent Rebel Blog at www.NeuroDivergentRebel.com
This is all informative! Are we able to save the Chat?
what in your opinion makes the Ultranauts business model a success?
The chat and otter stream will be saved @Hope Freedman.
Non-Autistic mama/wife here!! Married to a brilliant autistic man, have an autistic son and autistic daughter. I'm thrilled to be here learning from all of you here today!!
Thanks for the response, Kellie! I definitely find that working with someone who can clarify things really helps, especially when getting vague acceptance criteria when starting development work
I think “flippant” might be the natural language of Autists :)
Welcome Jill Springer! :)
Hey note this is what adjustments look like
I recognize not everyone may be able to do this, but I set up OBS with a static image of me smiling that I can switch to if I need to do a distracting stim or move my clothes around or whatever.
Notice how that adjustment didn’t cost anything. Most adjustments don't.
Autism acceptance slideshow above
Autumn, could you let me know how to set up OBS? My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The latest HR guidance has been to allow people to not appear on camera constantly due to extreme Zoom fatigue, and I've seen my direct leadership back off of those "on-camera" demands as the remote work situation has lengthened and the trust factor that work was getting done and that people were present for it strengthened
how do you find the language to tell your employers what you need for workplace accommodations?
Would you recommend sharing that you’re autistic with bosses / coworkers? If so, how can this be done mindfully without fear of being looked down upon?
@Edwin… can you speak to your strengths, and then say “and here’s what I need to tap into those strengths”?
For those interested in pursuing work with Ultranauts, we are hiring Quality Engineers--please find the job description and recruitment overview outlining our process here: https://jobs.lever.co/ultranauts/b4bd8049-d818-4955-8384-658d0659bfc8?lever-origin=applied&lever-source%5B%5D=Autism%20Acceptance%20Panel
Kourosh: I disclose early and often. But it’s a very personal choice.
Zoom fatigue is real. I have stopped appearing on camera.
As another angle on the “disclosing” issue, are there things that coworkers, managers, etc. can do to signal that it’s safe to disclose and/ or that it’s an inviting workplace?
@Allison it's unfortunately a bit complicated and varies by what type of camera your computer has, and your OS. You might be able to find a guide out there for how to set it up on your platform. What I use is called a Scene and the Scene uses an Image which is just a picture of me.
@Jennifer Haude, we do not currently have a need for Marketing/Communications.
FYI, recording of this session, along with chat transcript, will be shared after the even (assuming zoom work as intended :-)
Magnus, I’d love to understand how you disclose this. Perhaps we can connect separately
Autism Acceptance Slideshow: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6785971918962081793/
I love Fred
Thank you very much @Ultranauts for sharing the chat transcript afterwards!
First, I want to mention that I found the interview process to be very accessible. Ultranauts was willing to communicate with me via chat rather than a phone call. I’ve never even heard of any other companies doing that and it made a huge difference. I didn’t even know that was something I could ask for before I saw that it was an interview option on their website.So I would definitely recommend being open to different forms of interviewing and making it clear that those options are available to potential applicants. There are people who are great employees that don’t do well in a traditional interview process that are being overlooked. So having an inclusive interview process is essential.
Second, I really appreciate how Ultranauts is inclusive of the LGBTQIA+/Queer community. For example, we have a place to put our pronouns in our Slack profile and we have a LGBTQIA Pride channel where we can discuss current events, various topics and support each other.We have Avatoons which are cartoon drawings based off of a photo. The background is clear so I was able to add a bisexual pride flag to the background and use it for my Slack profile picture.I co-presented some basic information about the LGBTQIA+ community at one of our monthly Community Gathering meetings. In my personal life, I’m passionate about bisexual advocacy and inclusion. (There’s a lot of stereotypes out there and bisexuality is often ignored and marginalized even in queer circles.)
We are not perfect but are open to uncomfortable conversations and mature dialogue about the sensitive topic of Diversity and Inclusion and Belonging
We recently launched a campaign for "Autism Inclusion" at my company and have had many employees disclose as a result of it. I'm grateful that the campaign is working to bring about the positivity about neurodivergence. And it's creating some great creative conversations on accommodations and adjustments to our employee policies!
SC Chu == ask how many Autistics are in upper management positions, in paid seats of power with their autism hiring initiatives
A chat interview sounds amazing, Kelly! I have semiverbal episodes so verbal interviews are a real nightmare.
@Wendy yes totally I’m with you on that
Our practices are not secret!
(Sorry about the delay, Zoom wasn’t letting me paste my entire response so I had to break it up into two comments)
Our CEO admits mistakes and reaches out to people who have insights and concerns
David scan up for Kellie’s response
Dang, I wish I could interview via chat/Slack.
I love that idea.
Jennifer sometimes positions open up in HR, recruitment, job coaching… hopefully we will serve as a role model for many other companies. Leads in corporations are taking note of our universal design inclusivity practices and asking us how to do this! People are caring about true representation and workplace adjustments that help everyone.
<3 <3 <3
I see a lot more companies focusing on neurodiversity/autism hiring too, Marcelle! SO encouraging!
The text chat interview option is a great suggestion!
Do plan for extra time — chat interviews do take longer to complete
Such poignant and thought-provoking points, Marcelle!
That is horrible, I'm so sorry that happened. :-(
Oh I am so very sorry that you've experienced that Marcelle. Thank you for so vulnerably sharing.
Thanks for everything, Marcelle. I appreciate you.
I'm sorry that happened, Marcelle. That is not ok.
I am so sorry you felt marginalized Marcelle. Thank you for sharing that difficult experience.
Not at all surprising… typical even.
Thank you, Marcelle!
Thank you for sharing, Marcelle. You are so strong and we all admire you so much.
My jaw just dropped, I can’t believe that leader said that. I’m so sorry that that happened. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you, Marcelle — just shocking. Appreciate your share.
Nicole - that is a crappy manager! He should have reset expectations when he saw your overdelivery!
What Nicole is saying is so true. When Autistic employees hit a groove and perform well at things we love and are good at, non-Autistic coworkers can have bad feelings about us. I really relate to this.
So your manager never corrected himself when he realize he was exploiting your work ethic OR when it was harming the work culture, but made a joke of it. Awful
Or if we struggle with things they think are simple
Or, there can just be a policy of answering questions in a sincere, helpful fashion.
Marcelle, to use your own words. You are "Brave. Bold. Beautiful".
Thanks for sharing so vulnerably and openly, disgusted at the horrible experience you went through. As an ally, with an autistic son, do you have any advice on how to support/advocate as an ally without feeling like i should be autistic myself to be in the neurodiversity employee resource group?
ugh I hate that - I never pick up on those "political" relationships and favors
Thank you all so much for being so vulnerable
Good for you!
"Yes, I do have a condition. What's your excuse?"
Thank you for sharing these hard truths, Nicole.
Arrogant jerks deserve strident responses, though, so well done
Nicole, way to stare down that garbage comment and back it up with your credibility
Smart comeback, Nicole!
Nicole - you had to self-advocate and slap back, and that can be a lonely place.
I didn’t realize I was autistic until a few years ago. So I didn’t understand why I struggled with connecting with my colleagues at a former job. I was able to make friends but I always had this sense of not fitting in with the group as a whole. I was mostly given busywork and although I was always rated well during performance reviews, my career wasn’t going anywhere. People that I’d started at the same time as me were getting promoted two levels above me.I don’t feel that way at Ultra. I really feel like I belong here. I know that my work makes a difference and I feel that there’s room for my career to grow. I’ve made friends here, and there are people I connect with and I feel like I’m part of a community. (1/2)
One advantage of working remotely and using Slack is that most of our communication is in written form which accommodaties not just my autism but also the fact that I’m hard of hearing. This makes it easier to connect and form relationships.I’ve learned a lot in the past year. Before I started, I had never done accessibility testing before. I got the training I needed and have been gaining experience doing accessibility testing for the past year. I’ll also be starting a data quality project in a few weeks which I’m excited about. I’m looking forward to continue learning something new and gaining experience with different kinds of projects. (2/2)
Thank you, Kellie. Wonderful contribution.
Thank you, Kellie! So glad you’ve found your home at Ultra :)
Thank you Nicole and Kellie, your stories are really important and give a different perspective.
great job hosting J David Hall. You rock!
It's interesting that you mention the "handbook" Fred!! I had forgotten about that, but when my daughter was diagnosed - we were also given this big handbook from Autism Speaks and it was so overwhelming. I remember reading it and crying because of HOW THEY VIEWED people. (Later find out that I am also autistic and it makes sense).
Autism Speaks is so problematic
I can do that
this is the best webinar I've attended all year!!!! So powerful, insightful, informative and REAL! Thank you all!
We also got that manual when our son was diagnosed @Amy; didn’t bother reading it.
These diversity stats are FIRE <3
I'm totally obsessed with your NUMBERS!!! Amazing and totally unheard of.
Those stats are FIRE
Ditto Fred and Amy on "the handbook". We got it too and I SO wish that parents of newly diagnosed kids weren't automatically given that. It just causes panic and fear. Why can't these places suggest acutally helpful resources, like seeking out the advice of actual autistics?
I absolutely agree, Elizabeth. I was losing hope that I could find a safe and healthy workplace but this is really wonderful and encouraging.
Those numbers are incredible; mixed with the qualitative statements from everyone on here… that’s super impressive
I cannot believe that this is the 1st webinar on this type of topic I’ve attended, thank you. :)
I wouldn’t be surprised if Ben Franklin were ND
You'll find when Ultranauts is hiring for ANY position, we'll always state "neurodivergent applicants encouraged to apply"--true universal workplace
Wow.......statistics many companies could only dream of.Wonderful to see inclusion really working
Take a proactive approach. That means not just passively accepting diversity but actively seeking it out. Don’t wait for people to speak up because not everyone is comfortable advocating for themselves. Others are, but they may struggle with burnout -- of always having to explain and advocate for inclusion.I’m a big fan of the concept of universal design -- deliberately designing an environment from the start to be accessible to as many people as possible. People need to know that they’re in a safe and accepting environment where they can be themselves and given space to grow -- without dealing with barriers due to being part of a marginalized group.Also, don’t assume it’s a one-and-done process. It’s always possible to do better. Have processes in place for feedback and follow through on commitments to change.(1/2)
Hi Amy! Yes, I cried too.
Ultranauts is amazing. I have never felt accepted at a workplace.
YES, @Kellie on Universal Design!
A big thanks to Rajesh and Ultranuats for hosting this amazing conversation
THANK YOU to the amazing speakers and panelist.
We have Team Forum meetings twice a month where we can meet to support each other and discuss current issues along with monthly Community Gathering meetings that educate on different topics and discuss ways to improve our company culture.Zoom meetings are integrated with Otter to provide automated captions and Google Hangouts now has automated captions as well. (The technology still has a ways to go but it’s improving.) It’s helpful not only to people who are deaf / hard of hearing (like me) but also to people with auditory processing disorder, ADHD, etc. (2/2)
Thank you ALL for sharing your wisdom and time today.
This has been wonderful. As someone working on the DEI initiative in our workplace, I appreciate all of the panelists for sharing your stories and perspectives. Thank you!
This Panel. this chat. my heart is so full <3
I hate that I have to jump off but I wish we could do this more often. You all are so amazing and I’m deeply appreciative of everything shared today. Remain strong and much love!
Wonderful Kellie. Love you Jill.
I need this in my household. ;)
Thank you all for doing this. It has been wonderful being in a safe space with supportive folks who understand and appreciate you.
Sorry, got to run! Really enjoyed this time.
@Carlton we’re also implementing some DEI processes (and building more) and this is super-helpful and informative… the practical ideas are pure gold
Thank you Ultranauts (Hi Rajesh!) and all the speakers for this amazing panel. Wish I could stay on longer. Look forward to receiving the materials afterwards.
This has been a beautiful conversation! Thank you so much - it’s a wonderful thing to make gradual progress in helping to educate and learn about how we’re more similar than we are different! <3
Someone on Twitter said it better than I could, but our society raises no untraumatized autistic people.
Thank you panelists, this is an incredible webinar
This has been amazing!Would any panelists/attendees feel comfortable sharing your LinkedIn profile links? I'm a late DX autistic and would love to make more neurodiverse contacts. (I'm at https://www.linkedin.com/in/wendymadill/)
Yes, absolutely. If autistic people are more likely to have coexisting conditions, then part of supporting autistic people needs to include supporting coexisting conditions. Also, plenty of people have these coexisting conditions without autism and also deserve support.A lot of these coexisting conditions are mental health related but unfortunately, there still seems to be a stigma around mental health. Society in general needs to start viewing mental health as just as important as physical health. Mental health disabilities need accommodation just like physical disabilities (though to be honest, physical disabilities aren’t always accommodated in society either.) (1/2)
Part of the reason why autistic people are more likely to deal with depression and anxiety is due to not understanding social norms that neurotypical people seem to understand easily. But it’s also more than that -- it’s neurotypical people that are establishing norms in the first place and ostracizing people that can’t -- or don’t want to -- conform. Another factor is that autistic people are more likely to be to queer or part of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum -- another group of identities that are marginalized by society. (2/2)
https://linkedin.com/in/hedemark - But I don’t accept connections from sales folks or ABA/BCBA.
Hello @wendy I am happy to connect. https://www.linkedin.com/in/mollyhildengliezes/
I am in recruiting and staffing and would love to connect up with anyone (and everyone) in this conversation. linkedin.com/in/stephanieranno
Please feel free to add me: https://linkedin.com/in/avankirk
Here's my linkedIN again too... https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanieranno/
I’m happy to connect as well. I treat the common co-existing mental struggles. Jackieshapintherapy.com
My LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kellie-heistand/
I have a 1:15 meeting and need to grab some lunch - thank you THANK YOU for all the beautiful words and comments here today. I hope to be part of many more of these kinds of conversations. my very best to all!! Happy to connect on LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jillspring1/
I should preface this with the fact that I am presumed NT, but parent to an autistic son, and an autistic ally, personally and professionally. <3 I always love adding like-minded humans to my network. Feel free to connect - https://www.linkedin.com/in/seattlestreeby
Oh what did u mean about the bcba thing
Just would like to thank everyone on the panel :)
I mean I do not connect with people who make their living on Applied Behavior Analysis.
Also happy to connect: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carrielblackman/
Many Autistic adults are outspoken about the need to end ABA, and as an Autistic person and ally to my neurosiblings I support them in this.
Happy to connect too - late-diagnosed as well, such an eye-opener…after years of being chronically exhausted. https://www.linkedin.com/in/elsekramer/
It's beneficial to think outside the traditional employment box when considering where to gain experience--volunteering, self study, personal hobbies/projects related to your career goals.
Yes, Marcelle, that has been my challenge.
@Stephaine Ranno, contact me.
@Heather I legitimately learned a lot about being an effective manager through three very unconventional paths: 1. Bouncer at a night club, 2. Fine art nude photographer, 3. Patched into a traditional motorcycle club
Bouncer: I learned how to achieve desired outcomes through diplomacy in situations where I had accountability but not power.
excellent response Heather (in chat above)
Fine art nude photographer: I learned that EVERYBODY masks, and in order to have authentic conversations you have to create psychologically safe spaces for people and earn trust.
We are going to have another webinar in July. Also #diversitywithdignity global roundtable see Spectrum Suite LLC on Linkedin
@Heather - Is that the right LinkedIn Profile that you shared? Might want to resend. :-)
Motorcycle club: a society that appears chaotic on the surface has an unspoken underlying order. You have to look for that social order, learn it, respect it.
Also hosting a Diversity with Dignity Global Neurodiversity Summit 2022.
Krystel, I'm happy too. Are you on LinkedIn? And what is your company/job/ profession so I can find you.
Most report regretting disclosing a hidden disability or condition
Only 3.8 % nationwide feel comfortable disclosing a hidden disability.
@Marcie - That makes me so sad that people have experiences that make them regret disclosure.
implicit bias is a killer
@Stephaine, FAA, Analyst
My stance as an autistic, ADHD, non-binary trans woman is that I will take up space and rattle cages so those who come behind me don't have to.
Thank you for all of your kind feedback and panelists fantastic discourse!
I am working to improve things on my campus
I'm here too :-)
My linked inhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/rachaelsilverman/
Thank you Marcelle!
Thank you!! I'm so impressed by all of the panelists and am so grateful to have heard this priceless information. You are all amazing!
Most aren’t doing it like Ultranauts :)
Thank you all for sharing, and David for leading the conversation!
NOBODY is doing it like Ultranauts.
Thank you all so much for sharing so vulnerably and for being such a great example
Thank you all for a great conversation!!
This was amazing. I am so fortunate to be apart of this meeting.
Thank you all!!
Thank you to everyone connecting on LinkedIn, it’s truly amazing and inspiring to connect with you all.
This is an outstanding and very emotional webinar, thank you
Spectrum Suite LLC on Linkedin and hashtag #diversitywithdignity
Thank you, Rajesh and all presenters. Great talk!!
Thank you all, this was so great <3
I appreciate all of you for sharing your stories with us today. I feel like I have learned quite a bit, but there is so much more to learn. Thank you very much. Feel free to connect: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vanessacoronatalentseeker/
We need more Ultranauts in the world!
What a kind and welcoming group. Thank you!!!!
Extremely well-done! Thank you. :)
Thank you to everyone!
Thank you all so much!
Thank you all!
Thank you, Marcelle!
Thanks one and all, even attendees! 💖
Thank you so much for all the insight. I appreciate you.
That sounds awesome!
You rock, Thanks all!!
Thank you for an outstanding session!
You all have inspired me!!!
Yes, great job David!