Track Talk Th14

Different, Not Less: Empowering through Inclusion

Khimanand Upreti


15:15-16:15 Thursday 13th June

Are you open to include team members with disabilities (like blindness) and diverse neurological perspectives (like autism), yet hesitant to proceed? Are you concerned about commitment, testing deliverables, ownership, quality of work — and costs associated with inclusion? We might aspire to contribute to society, but we’re responsible to the business too.

We’ve done it: we’ve tailored a training program for autistic and blind individuals, and we’ve created an inclusive team to perform high-quality testing for customers.

One of us is a trainer for individuals with autism; the other is a leader overseeing the Accessibility Practice, including non-sighted testers. We will share our transformative experience of hiring, training, and placing both blind and autistic individuals into software-testing roles in projects. We developed a pathway: four months of hands-on training, confidence-building, real-world testing assignments, certification, and then successful project placements where our colleagues could realise their potential. We’ll talk about our experiences: strategies, implementation, outcomes, successes, and lessons learned. We’ll show how the value of a diverse team far outweighs the costs.

We believe that the digital realm should be accessible to everyone. Our goal is to encourage employers and candidates alike to make our vision of diversity a reality. We are inspired and proud of our colleagues and their work, and we want to share their story with the world.