Diversability is an award-winning movement to rebrand disability through the power of community.

Diversability is an award-winning movement to rebrand disability through the power of community.

Sam Berman on This Year's #TechInclusion in New York

By Sam Berman

When I first read about the Tech Inclusion conference, I was thrilled to find an event devoted to so many things I feel deeply passionate about. I haven’t been to many tech conferences, so the fact that there weren’t many details available about who would be speaking only served to heighten the allure. My excitement was amplified a few days after that, when I found out Diversability would be providing my ticket for me. I didn’t know entirely what to expect, but what I experienced once I arrived at the Viacom office wasn’t entirely expected.

Over the course of the next 8 hours, we learned from a different presenter or group of panelists about every 10-20 minutes, with topics ranging from gifs to entrepreneurship. Even with that broad range of discussion topics, one common theme poked through the surface periodically, tying everything together like a needle and thread: Media and technology are deeply pervasive in society and have a profound impact not only on culture but on each other. It is essential to have diversity and inclusion in both of these fields because this creates better content, products, and services. It is important for people of varying races, sexes, gender identities and abilities to see other people like them already working in the industry because this is precisely what increases diversity and inclusion, not only in these industries, but in society as a whole. These notions seemed to be a driving force behind the conference as a whole.

I was still waking up and the first panel was already discussing the importance of diversity and inclusion in the media and tech industries. As this panel ended, the moderator of the second panel, Melissa Jun Rowley, was introduced and walked onto the stage. She introduced a group of 15 and 16 year-olds, who the audience would soon find out were already working either as developers or as program organizers for organizations such as Black Girls Code. Almost immediately, I was struck with how articulate Olivia Ross, Boubacar Diallo, and Ibrahim Diallo were. They responded to questions that I wasn't even sure how I would answer. I was particularly impressed with Olivia, who spoke about how she valued art as a mechanism for social change and described that she is "looking forward to becoming an expert in my field." Jasmyn Lawson of GIPHY delivered a short but entertaining and engaging presentation on the impact that gifs have on culture. I didn't realize just how pervasive gifs are as a form of media consumption, but with 100 million daily active users, over 1 billion gifs are viewed daily. It is one of the most popular forms of media consumption right now and as such it is incredibly important to portray equal representation of all people. The next panel consisted of five people, four of whom worked at some of Viacom's television networks plus one person from Twitter. This panel dug deeper into the intersection of media and tech, discussing the interconnectedness of these fields. The panelists described how creative professionals and technical professionals can benefit from each other. Their distinctive expertise can complement the other's. One of the panelists described an encounter he had with Ron Howard. Ron was discussing the opportunity he was given to direct an upcoming Star Wars movie, but was frustrated that the franchise wants him to use physical props in the filming process. Although physical props may be perceived as more authentic and true to the original films, they slow Ron's process down. Technology not only allows Ron Howard to work faster, but to more easily fine tune what's being filmed.

Panel: Driving an Inclusive Future for Gen Z

Panel: Driving an Inclusive Future for Gen Z

Jennifer Brown on Leveraging Diversity

Jennifer Brown on Leveraging Diversity

As the day rolled forward, panelists and presenters changed about every ten minutes. It was intense and deeply enlightening. Inevitably, some of the details have been lost to the passage of time. Jennifer Brown laid out some fascinating statistical nuggets she discovered during her research into how the tenets of diversity and inclusion play out in corporate workplaces. This was a great counter to a conversation that took place a little later between Liz Gray of The Female Quotient and Brooke Hinton of Refinery29, who discussed a research study Refinery29 had conducted, surveying a representative swath of the general public, comparing their stated beliefs regarding equality to their actions. The gist of this research is that a considerably larger number of people say that they believe in equality than actually act on those beliefs. Just before lunch, Wayne Sutton, co-founder of Change Catalyst took the stage to introduce New York Daily News’s Senior Justice Writer, Shaun King. This was one of the most highly anticipated discussions of the day. King has made a name for himself exposing arbiters of hate on the internet. True to form, they chatted about the role the internet plays in denouncing hate. Shaun described how he doesn’t necessarily like sharing the graphic images of people being violently attacked, but he does it because usually it’s the family of the victims that ask him to share the images and because sharing them is the most viable way to unite people against intolerance. This confrontation is a necessary form of “non-traditional justice,” which is essential when police and government officials aren’t doing their jobs. He continued to carefully distinguish that it’s the content of the images that’s offensive, not the photos and videos themselves. In an ideal world, he wouldn’t share them, but he does so to serve a larger cause. Attempting to bring evildoers to justice is a way of honoring the victims.

Shaun King in conversation with Wayne Sutton

Shaun King in conversation with Wayne Sutton

That afternoon, a diverse group of business owners, entrepreneurs, designers, developers, educators, and government officials took turns describing how and why they were using their positions of power to implement strategies that promote diversity and inclusion. The first panel to take the stage after lunch consisted of two female and two male venture capitalists discussing the challenges faced by underrepresented entrepreneurs seeking funding for their young businesses. A group of software engineers and administrators from Viacom and Hustle took the stage next to discuss the importance of building a diverse workforce. Isis Anchalee, Tereza Shterenberg, Aurelie Gaudry, and Diego J. Medina described how building a diverse team ultimately allows a company to build better products and services. This was a great conversation, however, what was most notable to me about it was how disinterested the moderator seemed. Throughout the panel, they could be seen staring at their phone and when they did engage with the panelists, the remarks were passive and insubstantial. I found this incredibly distracting and unfortunate. The next panel, a group of investors and founders from different organizations based in Harlem, outlined why Harlem makes a great home for young tech businesses. It was extremely engaging and uplifting to hear people from my own city passionately and proudly talking about the work they do to stimulate the economy of this historically African-American community. A group of government representatives on the local and federal levels followed, chatting about the role that government has in empowering individual representation and how leveraging technology has a dramatic positive impact in doing so.

There were a number of other powerful conversations and presentations that took place on the stage that day, but calling out every single one would make for a long and boring post. I would rather dive into my commentary and ultimately, my takeaways from the event. One group of people notably underrepresented at Tech Inclusion were people with disabilities. This exemplifies to me a larger systemic problem in that so frequently when conversations turn to diversity and inclusion, the focus is on gender and racial equality. If the disabilities community gets any attention in these conversations, it’s an afterthought, and even then it’s usually the person with a disability calling attention to that in the conversation. One audience member with a disability raised this concern to one group of panelists, critiquing “[The phrase] should be diversity and accessibility, not diversity and inclusion.” The implication being that inclusion is a theoretical concept, whereas accessibility connotes actions being taken. Of the 8 hours of presentations, there were only two 10-minute talks geared towards people with disabilities. Thomas Logan described the importance of making virtual reality experiences accessible and Xian Horn shared how her father’s portrayals of persistence and resilience helped her overcome adversity. It was also interesting to see that although the event organizers asked someone with a mobility impairment to speak, they didn’t provide a ramp to the stage. While this was the case, the subject matter discussed over the course of the day was broad-ranging and presented by a largely diverse group of people. Additionally, almost everyone was genuinely interested in having an open and honest dialogue about diversity and inclusion. This was typified when an audience member asked one group of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists what they are doing to be more inclusive to business owners and aspiring business owners with disabilities. The response from one of these panelists was along the lines of “Not enough. I work with a lot of veterans who have disabilities, but I haven’t thought about the disabilities community more broadly.” That type of honesty is both underappreciated and undervalued.

One speaker offered a criticism that is worth mentioning because not only was it a little offbeat, but it made me think about the diversity issue from a different perspective. Bryson Gordon stated, “There aren’t enough straight, white men in the audience.” He didn’t say this to perpetuate the struggles women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and people with disabilities have historically faced, he said it to point out the fact that as important as it is for for these marginalized communities to gather and speak out, it’s just as important to engage those people who have historically held power because involving these people allows for making these positive changes we talk about easier and farther reaching. This remark was also intriguing to me because it spoke to the nuances of identity. I am a straight, white male, but I am also disabled, jewish, and a feminist. There isn’t one identity that supersedes the rest, and the fact that I have light skin doesn’t make my beliefs and opinions any less valuable or worth contributing. There was one person who spoke on 2 different panels and would frequently ask questions from the audience, who seemed very quick to dismiss ideas shared by white men and women. This attitude is just as problematic as the historical discrimination faced by women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and people with disabilities. If we want to solve this problem, we have to truly treat everyone equally and not act as if singular white men represent all white men.

At the end of the day, the Change Catalyst co-founders, Melinda Briana Epler and Wayne Sutton, got onstage, asking everyone to take a moment to think about what they heard and saw that day and how they we would act on it. The idea being that it doesn’t do enough good to get together for the day and talk about diversity and inclusion (and accessibility!), we have to take action. At some point during the subsequent happy hour, Melinda Briana Epler walked right up to me and said “hello.” We spent the next 15 or so minutes talking about writing. One of my biggest takeaways was that, no matter how insecure I may feel about myself and my story, I have to continue sharing more aspects of it, and share more frequently. The talks at Tech Inclusion were deeply thought provoking and enlightening. Hearing people speak so passionately and confidently about diversity, inclusion, and accessibility makes me feel so optimistic for a future in which these ideas are mainstream. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to attend and am already looking forward to next year’s conference.

Diversability community members (L-R): Xian, Hiro, Thomas, Sam, Kieran, and Emily

Diversability community members (L-R): Xian, Hiro, Thomas, Sam, Kieran, and Emily

Meet Us at #TechInclusion in #NewYork August 9-10

We are excited to be a partner of Tech Inclusion New York. On August 9-10, we will be joining the conversation to be part of the solution to improving Diversity & Inclusion in NY tech. What will we do to ensure that innovation is inclusive for everyone?

We wanted to give you the chance to meet some of our Diversability community members who will be in attendance. Say hi if you meet us!

Emily Ladau (@emily_ladau)

Photo credit: Rick Guidotti

Photo credit: Rick Guidotti

"I actually received the email about Tech Inclusion happening again. I'd genuinely love to attend again, because I got so much out of the experience last year. 

To me, tech inclusion means making the tech world - both as a business, and the products - fully accessible. Accessible technology doesn't just benefit people with disabilities; it benefits everyone. And to be fully inclusive, we must include members of the disability community at all levels in the tech industry, from development to consumption. Tech inclusion means truly including all.

I'm most excited to hear from presenters of multiple marginalized identities, and do hope to hear from presenters with disabilities."

Hiroko Nishimura (@nishimurahiroko)


"I work at an AdTech Start Up in NYC, and just today, I was having a "lunch with an executive" where I was discussing my hopes for bringing in more inclusiveness, both to our product(s), and in the company culture itself.

I am interested in the panels and speakers at this conference, and can't believe that there is a whole conference devoted to the "field" I hope to find myself in, which is the conglomerate of accessibility, inclusion, and tech.  I hope to one day work in the fields of assistive technology and education, and hope this conference may allow me to explore my options more."

Kieran O'Brien Kern (@KieranOBK)

"Tech Inclusion NY 16 afforded me the opportunity to meet and learn from people who saw inclusion as critical to success and not a necessary evil. These individuals were on every level of the success ladder from job seekers fresh out of college, to HR teams, and ultimately the C-Suite.  My overall feeling is that while the path to inclusion is far from smooth, the commitment to it is solid.

Since the last conference, our social and political climate has shifted; I remain optimistic that this commitment to giving everyone a spot at the table is stronger than ever. I am most looking forward to learning about the research, actions and innovations of the last year in diversity initiatives and connecting with the powers-that-be that are driving them and the existing and potential employees that are benefiting from them now."

Sam Berman (@cerebralposi)

"I'm interested in attending Tech Inclusion NY because technology is a powerful tool that enables people with disabilities to live more independently and autonomously. I want to learn more ways I can help make the world a more accessible place and connect with other people who feel the same."

Xian Horn (@XianForBeauty83)

"Last year, emphasized for me the importance of representation - and in attending, I'd like to support representation of people with disabilities (which is often not mentioned enough in conversations around diversity) and again be a part of and contribute to the valuable discussions that have stayed with me until today. For example, a powerful moment for me last year was the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) Commissioner Victor Calise's presentation, where he highlighted NYC's 4% employment rate for people with disabilities (PWDs), and urged companies to hire with the PWD talent pool in mind. It has strengthened my resolve to improve these numbers and start an initiative I had been working on, called Changeblazer, Inc.  

On a side note: Tech Inclusion was also the place where I reconnected with someone I had met a few months earlier - who had just begun blogging for Forbes. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to have been featured in Forbes three times. Thanks Tech Inclusion for making this possible!"

Diversability readers get an exclusive discount with code diversability20 at http://ny17.Techinclusion.co.

Note the Career Fair on August 9 is free to attend: https://ny17.techinclusion.co/page/1298221/career-fair

Join INBE: Reinventing the Wheel for Wheelchairs

Diversability is excited to be partnering with the INBE platform to help gather feedback from our wheelchair community to develop a new wheel for wheelchairs. Interested in participating in the wheelchair reinvention (it's free, takes less than 5 minutes, and you'll be rewarded for your opinion)?

Learn more about the project below and get involved at http://bit.ly/inbecontributor

Join in, speak up, make a difference

If there’s one thing everyone needs, it’s connection and communication. ‘No person is an island.’ We’ve all heard this phrase many times before. However, at times that’s exactly what some people with disabilities can feel; alone and unheard.

More specifically, people in wheelchairs are some of the most commonly misunderstood people. Some wrongfully assume that those in wheelchairs can’t participate in everyday activities, like playing sports, hiking or enjoying the outdoors. And while the world isn’t always easily accessible for people living in wheelchairs, with the continual advancements that are being made, things can and will continue to get easier.

As time goes on, more and more companies are becoming aware of the challenges people in wheelchairs face. Thankfully, they are also taking it upon themselves to come up with new, and innovative solutions to improve the quality of life for people in wheelchairs. Motion Composites is one of those such companies. Motion Composites helps coordinate the process of accumulating data, as well as user experience information and other feedback in order to hand it back to the creators and manufacturers. The goal? Make the product better for the people who need it. That way, real people can offer real solutions and help create tangible results. Flaws in the products are sussed out and corrected long before anything heads off to the retailers.

So what are the Motion Composites manufacturers working on now that holds the potential to affect the wheelchair community forever?

A brand new, more responsive, and entirely superior wheel. The company has taken on the lofty goal of revolutionizing the wheel on your average wheelchair, and replacing it with this newer, better model.

Imagine a wheel with deeper treads and greater grip, allowing you to go places you hadn’t been able to before. Like hiking on a forest path for instance, a place you may have been hesitant to go for fear of getting stuck.

Imagine a wheel that is more responsive and lighter, allowing you to head into crowded places with more freedom and agility. You could stop those people who routinely discriminate against you everyday, and force them to look at your differently.

Imagine being given the opportunity to be a part of this revolution. To speak up, have your voice heard and become the change you’d like to see in the wheelchair community. This wheel can’t be created without the support of wheelchair users. Your opinions, ideas and insights matter.

So if you are a wheelchair user, and want to be a part of this revolution, Motion Composites wants to hear from you. For this exciting project, they have partnered with the INBE platform to gather feedback from their community, become a contributor on INBE’s platform, and participate in a number of surveys that will in turn benefit the wheelchair community.

Click here to get started today: http://bit.ly/inbecontributor

Nobody knows what a wheelchair user needs better than those who live their lives in one everyday. No one else can better communicate with the wheelchair community about what it takes to be continually adapting, changing and learning in a world that doesn’t always feel compatible. But together, a community of like minded wheelchair users can exist.

Together, a better future isn’t only possible, but also attainable. Together, there’s always hope for real change.

Note: This is an affiliate partner, which means if you sign up, Diversability may get something in return.

Meet Maki of our Yamakimoto x Diversability "Nevertheless, She Persisted" Cards #NeverthelessShePersisted

Did you know that April is National Letter Writing Month? To celebrate, we have partnered with our favorite Etsy store (and Diversability supporter) Yamakimoto to offer these limited edition "Nevertheless, She Persisted" cards, a message that has resonated with so many in our community to break barriers.

We'll only be offering these through the end of the month, so buy one (or save and buy a pack of 4) for all the people who inspire you in your life. Buy the cards at http://bit.ly/diversabilitycards

Learn more about Maki and Yamakimoto below.


I spent two months in Nagano, Japan the summer before I turned thirteen. Instead of a summer of ice cream cones and lazy afternoons, I attended school there. Swim class was required, school lunches were healthy, students cleaned classrooms, exams were hard, words were proper, no school buses existed, I laughed, I mostly cried, mosquitos loved me.

When I returned to the US, I eagerly replaced memories of the summer with new ones in my American school. Then, one afternoon, my mother excitedly showed me a bulging envelope, the return address neatly written with a school’s address. I opened it, and handwritten messages written on beautiful stationery (seriously, where did Ayasa find that flower stationery?) and accented with colorful words and stickers spilled out. My fellow classmates that I had spent the summer with had taken their precious time to write to me.

また来てね!(Come back again!)

今度来たら、夏祭りに行こうね。(Next time, let’s go to the summer festival.)

英語の勉強をしてるの。(I’m trying to learn English now.)

Each note was unique and filled with sweet sentiments or contained information about their day-to-day lives. I unfolded and refolded every note countless times. It didn’t matter that I had basically memorized the contents of each letter; the rush I felt from unfolding them felt new every time.

This is when I fell in love with snail mail. This is when I felt the power of snail mail.

Years later, I wondered if I could make my own cards. Using blank white cardstock as my canvas, I decided to design my own cards and cater them to each person. I ended up loving it so much that I opened an Etsy shop because I wanted an outlet and an accessible way to share my greeting cards.

Last autumn, I turned thirty and we elected a new president. There was such a fire and desire that filled me, and I furiously took pen (and pencil and paintbrush) to paper. Tiffany and Francesca reached out to me at the peak of my frustration and defeat. Let’s work on a collaboration, they said. I was flattered.

Candid photo of Diversability founder Tiffany and Maki chatting at #DiversabilityAMA, October 2015

Candid photo of Diversability founder Tiffany and Maki chatting at #DiversabilityAMA, October 2015

I’d always admired Tiffany’s work ethic and mission-driven purpose with Diversability. Ever since I attended one of her Diversability AMAs in New York, I knew I wanted to help. We decided to use the quote ‘Nevertheless, she persisted’ because it encompassed the drive that we had. We wanted to send along this powerful message to women and allies everywhere.

All of my greeting cards are purposefully left blank inside because I want people to take the time to write personal messages to loved ones. Seeing that the world seems more divided than ever, I want to empower all to use their words for good. I hope you’ll consider sending a card to someone soon. They need to hear from you more than you know.

Special for our readers: Use code SHIPSHIPAWAY for free shipping on Etsy, or contact us if you’d rather buy offline.

Yamakimoto x Diversability Limited Edition Cards, available through the end of this month at http://bit.ly/diversabilitycards

Yamakimoto x Diversability Limited Edition Cards, available through the end of this month at http://bit.ly/diversabilitycards

Announcing the Launch of Awesome Foundation Disability #AwesomeDisability

By Tiffany Yu

January 21, 2017 was a rainy day in San Francisco. But I was still excited because not only were women and men coming together for the Women’s March, but also Alice Wong of the Disability Visibility Project and I were meeting for the first time. I’ve been a big fan of Alice’s work since my New York days.

We met for tea and coffee cake at her home and chatted about all things San Francisco, disability, and community.

Image description: two Asian American women next to each other at a kitchen table. The woman on the left [Alice] is in a wheelchair with a mask over her nose and wearing a navy blue hoodie. The woman on the right [Tiffany] has a necklace and a black v-neck shirt on. Both are smiling to the camera.

Image description: two Asian American women next to each other at a kitchen table. The woman on the left [Alice] is in a wheelchair with a mask over her nose and wearing a navy blue hoodie. The woman on the right [Tiffany] has a necklace and a black v-neck shirt on. Both are smiling to the camera.

Something Alice said really resonated with me. “What do we do with the privilege we have been given [to be a leader and have a voice in this community]?”

As a self-proclaimed inclusion and empowerment advocate, I mentioned to Alice that I had been thinking a lot about what empowerment looks like in our community. Maybe a fund that invested in or incubated inclusive products or startups, maybe a monthly financial award recognizing incredible disability advocates… When I think about what we as individuals can give to others, it comes down to time, relationships, and money. On that last point, I couldn’t help but think about the #DisablePoverty campaign that highlighted the limited employment opportunities and therefore the limited upward financial mobility that people in our community continue to face. It breaks my heart.

Then Alice told me she applied for a $1,000 microgrant from the San Francisco chapter of The Awesome Foundation. The Awesome Foundation is a community of autonomous chapters of self-organized “micro-trustees” that distributes $1,000 grants, no strings attached, to projects and their creators. Each trustee commits to contributing $100 per month and the contributions together are what creates the $1,000 grant.

That’s when we came up with the idea to create a global chapter of the Awesome Foundation focused on disability, consisting of trustees who all identify as having a disability. I knew Alice and I were committed, but would we be able to find 8 others who were just as excited about supporting our community?

Less than a month later, we had our group of founding trustees for Awesome Disability. We are:

  1. Tiffany Yu - San Francisco, CA, USA

  2. Alice Wong - San Francisco, CA, USA

  3. Alexandra McArthur - Raleigh, NC, USA

  4. Ian Smith - Oakland, CA, USA

  5. Jason Boberg - Auckland, New Zealand

  6. John Fazzolari - New York, NY, USA

  7. Liz Henry - San Francisco, CA, USA

  8. Riad Masoet - Cape Town, South Africa

  9. Victor Pineda - Berkeley, CA, USA

  10. Walei Sabry - New York, NY, USA

We are not a 501(c)3 non-profit or a corporation, we’re just a group of people with disabilities who want to pay it forward to our community.

How the Awesome Foundation Disability works:

  • 10 trustees (on average) each contribute $100 per month.
  • People with awesome ideas submit an application for the grant (in English, please).
  • The trustees review and discuss the applications, and pick the best one.
  • The winner is given $1,000, no strings attached.
  • The process is repeated every month, in order to spread the awesomeness.

Here are a few projects that have been funded by other Awesome chapters:

If you’ve got an awesome idea and $1,000 would make it a reality, apply for a grant.

If you’d like to join us as an Awesome Disability trustee down the line, apply to become a trustee.

Image description: In pink "AWESOME FOUNDATION DISABILITY" in block text with the Awesome Foundation logo on the right (fast forward sign). Underneath in black text "What would you do with $1000?" Underneath in pink block text "EVERY MONTH WE AWARD $1000 TO MAKE A NEW AWESOME PROJECT HAPPEN." In black block text "APPLY AT DISABILITY.AWESOMEFOUNDATION.ORG"

Image description: In pink "AWESOME FOUNDATION DISABILITY" in block text with the Awesome Foundation logo on the right (fast forward sign). Underneath in black text "What would you do with $1000?" Underneath in pink block text "EVERY MONTH WE AWARD $1000 TO MAKE A NEW AWESOME PROJECT HAPPEN." In black block text "APPLY AT DISABILITY.AWESOMEFOUNDATION.ORG"

We’d love your help getting the word out by sharing this via Facebook, Twitter, etc. It takes a second and the person you share this with might be the next recipient of a cool grant that spreads awesomeness in our community.

Can Music Help Children Learn?

By Jenny Holt

No matter our diversabilities and those of our children, it has long been thought that musical choices can aid or hinder intellectual growth. For decades, parents have played classical music to unborn children and young babies in the hope it helps improve their natural IQs. Furthermore, music therapy and music-based education helps many children including neurally diverse children, for instance those with autism. Now, researchers with Ledgernote have trawled through academic journals and studies to compare music tastes with SAT scores.

Parents of children with special educational needs are well-placed to understand the value of music. Many educational environments place great value on music and it has a truly positive impact on many children. Even children who may be non-verbal or use an alternative communication method can rejoice in music and it is a valuable therapy for children of far reaching and diverse abilities. 

Below outlines some of the findings of the research.

Music Acts with the Best SATs:

1. Beethoven - 1371
2. Radiohead - 1220
3. Ben Folds - 1218
4. Bob Dylan - 1197
5. Norah Jones - 1180

Music Acts with the Worst SATs:

5. Justin Timberlake - 989
4. Aerosmith - 987
3. Jay-Z - 970
2. Beyonce - 932
1. Lil Wayne - 889

These lists cover individual acts and groups, but music tastes go beyond any single artist to whole genres. Luckily, there are SAT range results for genres too:

Blues - 965 to 1220
Country - 985 to 1085
Folk - 990 to 1210
Indie - 960 to 1295
Jazz - 935 to 1220
Metal - 1000 to 1125
Punk - 920 to 1025
Rap - 850 to 1150
Rock - 975 to 1270
RnB/Soul - 875 to 1080

It is worth noting that these results are not academically rigorous. They do not look at the baseline IQ or abilities of kids, nor demographic backgrounds or their diversability. Many children with special educational needs have exceptional skills which expand far beyond what a simple (or complex test) can show. Furthermore, most people enjoy multiple artists spread over multiple genres of music.

If you would like to learn more, however, check out the full results on how music choices affect SAT scores.

About the Author
Jenny Holt is a mother of two, one of whom has a learning disability. Jenny began introducing her daughter to music to support the learning process and she responded positively. Jenny's findings sparked a new interest in the correlation between musical tastes and SAT scores.  

A Round of Applause

Happy 2017!

Members of the Diversability community are off to a strong start this year. In 2016, individuals have been honored for their advocacy and social entrepreneurial ventures, fundraising goals have been surpassed, and progress continues to amount. We are pleased to share this progress and encourage all to continue onward in the pursuit of further successes. 


ArtLifting recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the Social Entrepreneurs category.

Liz and Spencer Powers. Credit: artlifting.com

Liz and Spencer Powers. Credit: artlifting.com

Co-founded by Liz Powers and her brother, Spencer, ArtLifting empowers artists living with homelessness or disabilities through the celebration and sale of their artwork. ArtLifting affords artists the chance to earn income through the sale of their original paintings, prints and other products. Artists earn 55% from the profit of each sale, 1% goes to strengthening community partners and the remaining 44% furthers the ArtLifting mission. Since 2013, ArtLifting has grown from 4 to 72 artists across 1 1 states. 

Ava in the Consumer Technology Category!

Thibault Duchemin, Pieter Doevendans and Skinner Cheng. Credit: forbes.com

Thibault Duchemin, Pieter Doevendans and Skinner Cheng. Credit: forbes.com

Ava, founded by Thibault Duchemin, Pieter Doevendans and Skinner Cheng, is a mobile tool used to convert conversations into text for hearing-impaired individuals. The app takes conversations through a phone's microphone and transcribes it into text that can be read. CEO Duchemin grew up as the only hearing individual in an all-deaf family and has been bridging communication gaps ever since.

If you're compelled  to get more involved, they are hiring! 

Xian Horn Featured  in Forbes

Xian Horn. Credit: Ken Pao

Xian Horn. Credit: Ken Pao

My parents always told me anything was possible, and in my life I always treated my disability as a practical consideration.
— Xian Horn

Xian Horn, founder of Give Beauty Wings and Changeblazer was interviewed by Forbes to highlight the often "underrepresented minority" of individuals with disabilities. The joy with which she embraces life is evident in her interview with Paolo Gaudiano and Ellen Hunt of Forbes. While she understands that everyone engages one another differently, Xian makes herself "physically and emotionally available" to have interactions with others on the street. She understands that fear often prevents people from communicating, so with openness and a smile she combats that barrier each day. Read the entire article here

SHONA Congo achieves AIRSS Resettlement Goal

A featured product from SHONA Congo. Credit: shonacongostore.com

A featured product from SHONA Congo. Credit: shonacongostore.com

SHONA Congo is composed of five female artisans, Dawn, Argentine, Mapendo, Riziki, and Solange, who create handmade pieces to provide for themselves and their children. Argentine, Mapendo and their families, including 3 disabled adults and 6 children, fled Congo in February of 2016 and have been living as refugees. They support themselves entirely through their SHONA Congo sewing. The AIRSS has submitted applications to sponsor these families for resettlement in Canada but $58,000 would be required to support the family for their first year. As of this month, the goal has been surpassed, totaling $58,500! To support these artisans on their journey, visit SHONA Congo

AbleThrive Surpasses Fundraising Goal

AbleThrive, a one-stop platform for people with disabilities and their families to access curated resources from around the world, had a momentous 2016. They surpassed their fundraising goal with $20,296 dollars raised. Throughout the year, 60,000 visitors visited their website and their ally network grew to 140 organizations. They welcomed a new city director and gained significant media exposure as well. Bravo! 

To participate in their #ThisIsHowI challenges, visit the AbleThrive Facebook page

Actress Anita Hollander Performs in Three Roles at the Goodman Theatre

Anita Hollander on the cover of the Chicago Tribune.

Anita Hollander on the cover of the Chicago Tribune.

Actress Anita Hollander was featured on the cover of the Chicago Tribune for three roles she portrayed at the fabulous Goodman Theatre. Anita, who lost her leg to cancer, gives disability the attention it is too often denied in her art. 

Founder, Tiffany Yu, participates in Ford Foundation's #InequalityIs

Tiffany was selected to participate in Ford Foundation's #InequalityIs series alongside Elton JohnGloria SteinemRichard Branson, and others. If you have not seen it yet, check it out below. 

Inequality is exclusion. Exclusion is disabling.
— Tiffany Yu

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