Wednesday, November 20, 2019

#NYLA2019 : ADHD, Neurodiversity, and the Benefits of -- WAITLOOK!

Speakers: Lauren Comito, Brooklyn Public Library and Halley Eacker, University at Albany

Description: Are you a library worker with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)? As a manager of neurodiverse employees, are you looking for strategies to support your employees' professional success? Join our own-voice presenters as they discuss techniques adapted from positive-behavior-interventions-and-supports (PBIS) and how these employees can be powerhouse workers in their libraries with the proper environmental support. Topics of discussion include: expert guidance on ADHD in the workplace, methods for staying on task with ADHD, using ADHD as an asset in a profession that's constantly changing, how ADHD can affect public service interactions with adults and children, and what strategies and environmental supports should be considered by organizations to promote success.

Notes:  Comito and Eacker acknowledged at the start that they are able to talk about this issue openly, without fear of repercussion, because of the privilege they enjoy. They also acknowledge that students of color are treated differently when it comes to neurodiversity.  They may not receive the same support, etc., as white students.  Comito and Eacker were open about their neurodiversity, as were others in audience. The safe space of this session allowed for very useful information to be shared.
  • What is neurodiversity? How our brains are structured and function are diverse.
  • No one needs to disclose that they are neurodiverse.
  • Let go of how the work is done, and focus rather that the work is done.  Give people different pathways to the same outcomes or products.
  • How people work towards deadlines may be quite different.  Nudge but don’t nag.
  • Do you need to modify your space to create a better environment for those with neurodiversity? Think about the lighting, sound, layout, etc.
  • Documented condition/diagnosis - If you need accommodation for the job interview. You can ask for an accommodation.
  • Ask your employees: How do you work best? What type of environment do you need?
  • How can you differentiate jobs tasks for each employee, rather than thinking in terms of accommodating a specific person?
  • Think about individual productivity tools.
  • Talking openly about your needs can help others think about theirs.
  • If you believe someone needs help, point the person towards available resources.
  • Can you create psychological safety in your work group?
  • The law has created a stigma rather than creating a ways for all of us to be productive.
  • Point out people’s strengths, rather than focusing  on their weaknesses.  Use their strengths.
  • Hiring is time consuming.  You want new employees to succeed.


Quick Thoughts 

At one point, Lauren Comito used the phrase "Temporal locality." This phrase was new to me, but it captures something many of us do, especially anyone with a messy desk.  With temporal locality, you place items where they can be accessed quickly.What seems messy for one person is efficient for someone else.

That above is a good example of understand how someone works and then giving that person the latitude to work in a way that is efficient for them.  Comito also noted that how someone works may mean that they naturally wait until the last minute to get something done.  That panic of being close to the deadline helps the person get the work completed.

This is a session that could have gone on much longer, with people contributing different resources, etc.  I hope NYLA does a session like this again!

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