annoyed at a conference from six months ago

Last night I was reading a blog post, “The Year 2015 was a Breakthrough Year for Autism”, and I noticed a mention of a “Neurodiversity in the High Tech Workforce” conference in silicon valley. This seems really relevant to me, no? Apparently it was in June at Microsoft, I learned after googling for it… but the only references I could find were on a dyslexia website. Luckily, they had videos of the event, so I checked out the talks.

I was pretty quickly disappointed to see that actually, this is a dyslexia conference, not really a “neurodiversity” conference. I decided to read the talks just to see if anyone brought up other kinds of neurodiversity.

Unfortunately I only saw awkward comparisons about how autism is the “opposite” of dyslexia, and one story about an autistic coworker that didn’t really have a resolution, but was just a point to make. I also searched through for ADHD, but this was also only used as a footnote, “this is sometimes true for ADHD too”.

In fact, “neurodiversity” was only mentioned twice, and never defined. The whole conference left me feeling kind of weird, like it was tagging along onto a buzzword of neurodiversity, without actually engaging with what the “diversity” aspect meant.

Anyway, the post that I found this on claims that neurodiversity panels are becoming more mainstream. Perhaps in 2016, there’ll be another “Neurodiversity in Tech” conference – one that encompasses all the ways to be neurodivergent. I’d love to attend 🙂


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