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Nerd-Wrangling 101: Managing Neurodiversity with Cognitive Empathy

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Nerd-Wrangling 101
Managing Neurodiversity with cognitive empathy

Meredith L. Patterson & Julian Finn

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Who
• Meredith L. Patterson - @maradydd

• Julian Finn - @hdsjulian

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Neurodiversity

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Nerd-Wrangling 101: Managing Neurodiversity with Cognitive Empathy

  1. 1. Nerd-Wrangling 101 Managing Neurodiversity with cognitive empathy Meredith L. Patterson & Julian Finn
  2. 2. Who • Meredith L. Patterson - @maradydd • Julian Finn - @hdsjulian
  3. 3. Neurodiversity
  4. 4. Show of hands!
  5. 5. Neurodiversity • Why this talk? • Neurodiversity explained • Who is affected?
  6. 6. Why this talk? • It matters to us • It should matter to you • There’s stuff to be done about it
  7. 7. Neurodiversity explained • Superpowers • Super-Weaknesses • Social aspects
  8. 8. Superpowers: ADHD • “Like trying to concentrate while ten squirrels are jumping up your legs” • Filter-Weakness • Different types • Comes with a lot of acquired behavior
  9. 9. Basal Ganglia
  10. 10. ADHD: Hyperactive Type
  11. 11. Inattentive ADHD + Autism
  12. 12. Superpowers: Autism Spectrum Disorder • “Like being part of a movie where everybody else has the script” • Senses can have the gain turned up or down • Pattern-matching • Detail orientation • Thinking in systems
  13. 13. Autism
  14. 14. Super-Weaknesses
  15. 15. Super-Weaknesses: Disorders • Depression, Anxiety etc • No real upside • But: Can give you a unique insight into life • Often: Coping technique • Very often: Comorbidity with ADHD / ASD
  16. 16. Depression
  17. 17. Anxiety
  18. 18. Super-Weaknesses: Addiction
  19. 19. Imposter Syndrome
  20. 20. Social Aspects • Neurodiversity is not visible • Discrimination happens a lot • “The poor are crazy, the rich just eccentric” - Ellen Raskin, The Westing Game
  21. 21. Who’s affected? Us! • Mautinoa: ~10 Employees, almost everybody somehow affected • We figured out a way to deal with it
  22. 22. Who’s affected: You! • Many nerds match the descriptions of neurodiversity • Even if you are neurotypical: Many fellow hackers aren’t. • And you want to take them seriously, right?
  23. 23. Empathy • Cognitive vs Affective Empathy • Requirements • Solution orientation
  24. 24. Affective Empathy • Being affected by the emotional arousal of others • Empathic concern — sympathy/compassion for others • Personal distress — discomfort/anxiety • A self-oriented response to others’ suffering • Somatic empathy: somatic nervous system response, probably based on mirror neurons • Essential for establishing rapport
  25. 25. Cognitive Empathy • Understanding others’ perspectives / states of mind • Perspective taking: understanding what motivates someone to act a certain way • Tactical empathy: using perspective-taking deliberately • Some overlap with theory of mind
  26. 26. Cognitive Empathy: Requirements • Courage • Time • Understanding of Conditions • Psychological Visibility
  27. 27. Solution Orientation • Admitting • Listening • Acting
  28. 28. What to do • Leading by example • Maintaining a deep bench • Praise and criticism • Practical Examples
  29. 29. Leading by example • “Yes, we are also affected” • “It’s okay to be vulnerable” • Listen.
  30. 30. Maintaining a deep bench • Downtimes are normal — accept them • Make sure everything is covered — keep bus numbers high
  31. 31. Praise and Criticism • Praise in public, criticize in private • Find understanding ways to criticize • Praise for simple things (Psychological visibility)
  32. 32. Practical examples • Anxiety check-in • Provide both freedom and structure • Pairing is Caring - Within people’s limitations!
  33. 33. Everything else is stories
  34. 34. Reading Recommendations - Autism • Neurotribes (Steven Silberman) • The boy whose brain could unlock autism (Medium by Maia Szalavitz / google “boy unlock autism”) • "You don't seem autistic - unpacking diagnostic criteria” (Medium by Martha Rose Saunders) • Wrongplanet Forum - wrongplanet.net
  35. 35. Reading Recommendations - ADHD • Self-Help ADHD Subreddit /r/ADHD • additude Magazine - additudemag.com • Books? Problem: They’re too long! • Russell Barkley - Taking Charge of Adult ADHD • Lots of good Youtube Vids though!
  36. 36. Thank you. Questions?
  37. 37. Acknowledgements • Ragen Roberts • Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr - Well, THE INTERNET! • Our Team, our Test Crowd

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