Mixed Abilities and Varied Experiences

Virtually induced inaccessibility

Allyship

Difficulty remembering accommodations

Conflicting access needs

Power dynamics

Reflections and recommendations

  • Have a group discussion around norm creation, looking at access needs of all individuals to look for synergistic opportunities or conflicts. Encourage all people to talk about access needs or ways they could work better, not just people with disabilities. This can help make discussing accommodations and needs the norm.
  • Have a regularly scheduled time to revisit and update the norms. This serves as a refresher for the team, can help onboard new members, and supports people with fluctuating needs.
  • When shifting to a new context (e.g., in-person to remote), explicitly consider how norms from the prior context might be transferred over and what new norms are needed.
  • Because inaccessibility can become invisible in virtual settings, mentors, managers, and allies may need to perform more unprompted access check-ins with disabled team members.
  • Create a list of access norms grouped by context (e.g., slideshow norms, meeting norms) to make them the most actionable.
  • Curate basic disability/access information for disabilities present in the group (e.g., how to interact with an ASL interpreter)
  • Develop a (potentially anonymous) feedback mechanism for people to communicate about if access needs are successful and being upheld or not.
  • Apply norms consistently, regardless of who is in attendance at a meeting. This habituates norms and allows those with undisclosed disabilities to have their access needs met.
  • Adopt a mindset of “reminding” rather than “correcting” team members if an access norm is not upheld

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PhD Student at the University of Washington

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Kelly Mack

Kelly Mack

PhD Student at the University of Washington

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