Last month, we flew out to Kansas City to meet with members from Down Syndrome Innovations (kcdsi.org) and Inclusion Connections(ickc.org). There, we were able to work with an amazing group of talented individuals to photograph exercises and create content for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) and Neurodiversity.
As an organization that works with people from all walks of life, we know how important it is for representation within the activities we create for our users.
We spent a long weekend of hard work and laughter with amazing individuals who masterfully demonstrated a variety of activities from the MapHabit app. They also taught us a lot about working with individuals who need additional supports. Some of the lessons we learned over the weekend include:
● Having a quiet space for decompression and alone time in between tasks is essential for those with disabilities, so that they feel as comfortable as possible without potentially becoming overwhelmed or overstimulated. We selected a location with a room that can be used as a centering space for everyone.
● It’s important to ensure that the individuals and their families are familiar and comfortable with the space so that nobody is uncomfortable with being in the new space for a long period of time. Setting aside the time to explain the project to individuals and their supports was very important for us to ensure that everyone knew what to expect.
● Breaking down tasks step-by-step and using clear and concise communication methods helps remove any possible confusion and frustration while completing tasks. Our application guided everyone, in front and behind the camera, on what to capture and how to execute the movements needed.
● Most importantly - you can stay on task while still having fun! Sometimes while working we forget to have fun, but these individuals made it impossible not to laugh, as they were so fun and engaging. We knew that it is important to create this content in a supportive space, and made room for unexpected moments.