Interviewing Guide



Stories that involve people who are easily distracted and have issues filtering outside influences.

INNOCADEMY STUDENT: New at school, has ADD. Is stressed out and doesn't know where everything is yet. Gets distracted by things around them even if they are not directly engaging them such as a deskmate doodling and has difficulty paying attention when people are talking. Requires a fidget tool but isn't allowed to have them in class. Is specifically distracted during the time in between when class starts and the teacher starts teaching. Wishes there was a visual signal for when they need to pay attention.

INNOCADEMY STUDENT: They're homeschooled, not used to social situations, recently enrolled in Innotech academy. Like communicating With teachers first, then parents, then other students,really enjoys sketching and playing the piano, doesn’t like making a scene . Tends to get easily distracted by other conversations.

INNOCADEMY STUDENT: Does not like how loud their peers are. They are bothersome and talk too much. It causes them to have trouble focusing. They have ADHD. Prefers hands on work, likes building/creating, and learning new things. Would like to be temporarily separate themselves from others.

KCAD STUDENT: Spent a lot of time in school getting easily distracted, would often bring in pockets full of small toys. Blanked out a lot, and would only ever come to if I heard something particularly interesting. Didn't socialize well, spent much time alone. Was often too nervous to get the teacher's attention when I didn't understand something. Often got distracted by the sound of the A/C system.

KCAD student: I had a hard time paying attention in class and when I wanted to fidget, I would turn to drawing. I drew constantly in my notebook right when I was done with classwork. My middle school teachers hated it so much they would take my notebook AND my planner. I would always be one of the first kids done with classwork because I wanted to switch over to drawing. It would make classes very difficult when I wasn’t allowed to draw and fidget. The teachers always brought loud attention to taking these things away from me, it was so embarrassing and anxiety inducing.


Stories that involve a need for a flexible learning environment and process

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (counselor): Students Learn in a variety of different ways. Diversifying the ways we communicate with students helps them but it also helps us be better at our job.... universal design. Ask students... is there a way you prefer to get information?

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (AUTISTIC DESIGNER - ADVOCATE): Theatre classes were very helpful in learning how to be social explicitly.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (teacher): Every person learns differently (there are 7 ways). Teachers need to provide multiple ways of learning as much as they can... and that encompasses everyone (Universal Design)

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (AUTISTIC DESIGNER - ADVOCATE): Theatre classes were very helpful in learning how to be social explicitly.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (Aspergers student): Tricks to manage... finding ways to slip away for solitary breaks. Steer conversations toward logical paths to avoid emotional discourse.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (AUTISTIC DESIGNER - ADVOCATE): Don't try to bring everyone to the same level... instead try to give everyone the best tool for learning.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (TEACHER - ADVOCATE): Badges vs Labels... we will wear a badge but do not want to be labeled. People identify themselves instead of being identified in the Neuro-Diversity movement.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (counselor): Helps teachers find alternative ways for teachers to assess student learning... such as a low stimulus environment for an ADHD student.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (AUTISTIC DESIGNER - ADVOCATE): Niche Construction... I'm building my own toolkit that i can reach into when facing challenges.... like keeping track of time. The 24 hour dial in pie chart form became a good tool for me.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (counselor): leveling the playing field through assessment, testing and placing into appropriate coursework... who's playing field is the question. This is considered disability services. Helps find audio books for students with reading challenges.


Stories that involve a feeling of separation from students and teachers

INNOCADEMY STUDENT: Moved to Innocademy half way through their 1st grade year. They did not know anyone and missed out on all the past events from the beginning of the year. Was very sad and stressed out, did not talk to anyone for the rest of the year.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (student with depression): Teachers need to get to know students better

KCAD TEACHER: I always thought that most other kids were happier and more "together" than me... and that I had to create an an outward illusion of always being in control of the various aspects of my life... so I could feel good about myself.

KCAD STUDENT: Was held back in third grade because of height issues. Was able to take 5&6th grade math and English but had to retake all my other classes as a 3rd grader. All my friends went ahead of me and my new classmates made fun of me for being held back. I ended up not talking with anyone in my class and I made no new friends. I was sad and depressed and angry all year long. The next year I left so I had to adjust from charter school life to public school life. That was a stressful land terrifying experience.

INNOCADEMY STUDENT: Often feels isolated from their friends because of different interests and hobbies.

INNOCADEMY STUDENT: They're homeschooled, not used to social situations, recently enrolled in Innotech academy. Like communicating With teachers first, then parents, then other students,really enjoys sketching and playing the piano, doesn’t like making a scene . Tends to get easily distracted by other conversations.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (Aspergers student): I was always sitting alone at lunch and in the back of the room drawing in my notebook. Over time I have been gotten much better at my social skills. I was not doing this well in middle school


Stories that involve physical and emotional bullying

KCAD TEACHER: Was tormented on the bus by an older bully who sat behind for 40 minutes every day for a week... saying "I'm going to kick your ass when we get off the bus" Finally, that Friday, he did it (Chinese torture style).

NNOCADEMY STUDENT: Had to switch schools because she was being bullied. Once she got to Innocademy she had a lot of trouble making friends so it caused a lot of anxiety in her life.

INNOCADEMY STUDENT: Is overwhelmed by the competitive nature of school. Grades and behavior awards from the school. But, worse was the other kids always trying one up each other in every single conversation and activity. Kids always finding a way to turn a positive into a negative.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (TEACHER - ADVOCATE): We accept biodiversity but not neuro-diversity.

KCAD STUDENT: Basically anything involving peers being mean; picking on me, or picking on friends. I often felt like no one noticed me and that even my friends would ignore me or favor other friends, general sense of invisibility.

KCAD STUDENT: Minor bullying due to family circumstances, close friends who eventually came to be the source of the bullying from 4th to 5th grade. Learned a lot from the experience though I do not necessarily think it was completely bad. I have learned to cope with adversity within groups of people.

KCAD STUDENT: Moved around a lot when I was going to school and had a hard time making friends at times. Ended up getting bullied because I wore glasses and I was new and quiet most of the time. I also got called out by teachers often because I liked to doodle or play with things on my desk and the teachers would think that I wasn't paying attention which would upset me because then all of the other students would focus on me for that period time.

KHPS STUDENT:Kids on the playground destroying snow forts that they had spent a lot of effort building. Kids also destroying things made in the classroom or toys brought in form home

KHPS STUDENT: Female was assaulted in the girls bathroom by a notorious bully. She was admitted into emergency room later that day for related injuries. The boy was suspended for a while. When he came back, he was ordered to keep a distance form the girl. However, he was able to find ways to continue to stalk and threaten her.

KHPS STUDENT: Most teachers aren't very helpful with bullies. They either don't see them bullying or think it's no big deal. I have to fend for myself

KHPS STUDENT: I get teased for being a good student... for good behavior... and if I tell on someone.


Caitlyn, Shawna

Stories that involve people with social and personal anxieties that effect their sense of self


  • Tbd
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FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (Aspergers student): Middle School was where he sorted out his issues with Aspergers socially and developed his "tricks". Made friends with like-minded people (that made up his support group as well), got therapy and attended some special classes. Improv classes helped a lot.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (student with depression): Depression and Anxiety affected school... missed classes led to guilt led to problems with profs which spiraled into withdrawal from life and school.

KCAD STUDENT: I switched schools in 4th grade and had trouble making new friends. I had felt like everyone already had their groups and nobody wanted to take me in. For a while I was the kid sitting alone at lunch, but eventually made friends and broke out of my shell.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (Teacher): Putting a neuro-diverse student in a leadership role helped everyone see the value in that type of person. It required extra effort ... but they could do it.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (Autistic designer-advocate): My dignosis allowed me to not feel like I might be lazy anymore.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (Autistic designer-advocate): I feel responsible to take care of other people's feeling that I am with... too a fault.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS: (Aspergers student): Sometimes the sensory inputs from the class environment can be overwhelming and I just need to take a break outside or in the hallway. Even if a teacher lets me do it, it attracts a lot of unwanted attention onto me.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (Counselor): Moving from "Can't" (because I was told I won't be able to) to "Can" - for Neuro-Diverse students. Can be done by advocating for themselves and build confidence and resilience. When she gets them they are already beat down and discouraged.


Caitlyn, Shawna

Stories that involve issues with how the Neurodiverse are represented to others


  • Can we co-opt characters that are already represented in media, whether negatively or positively?
  • Can we brand the Sensiware product system as a learning aid for everyone?

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (AUTISTIC DESIGNER - ADVOCATE): Looking forward to the media potraying Neuro-Diverse people as more well-rounded and complex individuals

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (Aspergers student): The media has a lot of instances where ASD is misrepresented and lead to stereotypes. All I want is for the media to do is present Neuro-Diversity respectfully... and that is not something to be afraid of. To try to have empathy and understanding. It's not curable or contagious.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (counselor): Look at neuro-diversity as a strength not a deficit... that is a hard culture to change. Need more role models in the media as well as stories of success.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (Aspergers student): We feel emotions... the stigma that we lack emotions and empathy... not true... we only lack the ability to read others minds. We tend to dwell on things and have too much empathy. We have the ability to share others emotions... sometimes we have too much of it in fact and it's overwhelming.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (AUTISTIC DESIGNER - ADVOCATE): There is normal variation in human brains SDHD OCD , Dyslexia, Learning disabilities , Autistic/Aspergers (cliniclly Aspergers is no long a term in use). There is a continuum on the spectrum. Aspergers in under-diagnosed in people of colors and girls. There is not an epidemic of Autism... it is just being recognized more.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (Aspergers student): NeuroDiverse people are presented in the media as savants, creeps, or partially helpless. They are also pigeon-holed into jobs that others think they would be good at... like coding. Media should write them into scripts as normal people with their own personal traits like every other character.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (student with depression): Media presents depression as a small issue... not the overwhelming issue that it is. It can't be cured quickly with pills and therapy. It's a process. Media could make people feel less alone with their issues by addressing the issue more realistically and genuinely.

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (TEACHER - ADVOCATE): The Rain Man stereotype problem. There is good and bad stereotypes in the media/ The media story is becoming more rich and detailed. He hopes it stays on that course. The fact that reporting on the issue is inaccurate is a general media problem not just with Neuro Diversity

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (Aspergers student): Media sees Neuro-Diversity as a negative... a problem. The understanding is too small and the media could help that. We need numbers of voices in the media to counteract the stereotypes

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (counselor): The media is focusing on categorizing by diagnosis. Why can't we just use the tools we have for everyone in a universal way instead of trying match them by diagnosis. Not everyone is able to conform to standardized systems of learning

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (counselor): I would like to see a student voice on campus

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (AUTISTIC DESIGNER - ADVOCATE): I have to ask people to help me do simple things... like fill out a form because of my Dyslexia. People think I just don't like doing it... they don't always understand that it is an actual challenge for me. People say... "you can do code... why can't you do this?" I'm putting all the effort in that I can!

FROM NEURODIVERSITY INTERVIEWS (Teacher): Putting a neuro-diverse student in a leadership role helped everyone see the value in that type of person. It required extra effort ... but they could do it