Winter Institute to Offer Education Session on Neurodiversity in the Workplace

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On Saturday, February 20, Winter Institute (Wi16) attendees are encouraged to join an education session called “Neurodiversity at Work,” which will feature a panel of neurodiverse individuals and advocates discussing challenges and concerns neurodiverse employees experience in the workplace and customers experience in the store.

Neurodiversity is a broad concept and one that covers a multitude of neurological variations. This conversation with neurodiverse individuals and advocates will provide context for Wi16 attendees who are not aware of neurodiversity and the challenges and concerns of neurodiverse employees or customers. If you identify as neurodiverse, need direction around communicating with neurodiverse staff or customers, or are simply interested in learning more about neurodiversity, this session is for you.

The session will be moderated by Emily Autenrieth of A Seat at the Table Books in Elk Grove, California. Panelists will include Ed Thompson, CEO of Uptimize, a company that offers neurodiversity training tools to help employers build inclusive, innovative, and more effective teams; Jory Fleming, author of How to Be Human: An Autistic Man’s Guide to Life (Simon and Schuster); and Katy Alexander, global director of marketing and communications at Digital Science. Alexander, an individual with dyslexia, is excited to bring a wide range of diverse role models to children and adults around the world as the founder of the educational games company The Remarkablz, which showcases diverse and inspiring STE(A)M role models.

Booksellers can expect a discussion of what neurodiversity is and how this understanding can be used as a lens when interacting with customers and staff. Additionally, the panelists will cover a variety of other topics, including creating an open-minded, inclusive dialogue in the workplace, environmental changes to the workplace that can make it more accessible, and creating a safe environment for children in bookstores.

The 2021 Winter Institute will be held virtually from Thursday, February 18, through Saturday, February 20. The full Wi16 schedule can be found here. Questions about the event can be sent to winterinstitute@bookweb.org.