Unlocking the Power of Neurodiversity: Sensory Tool House Leads the Way in Workplace Accessibility

by Natasha Ashenhurst

In an ever-evolving landscape of work, where diversity and inclusivity are paramount, two remarkable individuals are pioneering change. Meet Katie McMurray, the visionary owner of Sensory Tool House, LLC, and Lauren Howard, the driving force behind its operations.

Their groundbreaking insights are set to illuminate the Future of Work Summit on October 24, offering a fresh perspective on neurodiversity and accessibility in the contemporary workplace. Read on as we delve into their inspiring journey and uncover the transformative potential of supporting neurodivergent populations.

Lauren has a Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior from UC Davis. She is a mother of three children and navigates the challenges of being an Army wife amidst active duty deployments. She’s known Katie for 20 years, so when Katie approached her with a vision and mission for Sensory Tool House mapped out, Lauren decided to return to the workforce after 13 years away to join a new venture, and Sensory Tool House was born. 

Sensory Tool House’s mission is to provide a neurodiversity-affirming environment to explore sensory-supportive equipment and tools while building a friendly, safe, and inclusive community for all.

“At Sensory Tool House, we are redefining retail. We don’t just sell tools for the neurodivergent population; we offer a ‘try before you buy’ experience, fostering sensory regulation. Step into our space and experience the transformative power of tools like compression garments and weighted blankets. In an era of online shopping where it’s hard to gauge effectiveness, we ensure that you get the right tools the first time, saving you time and money, while swiftly providing the sensory support you need,” said Lauren.

Katie McMurray

But Sensory Tool House is more than just a retail space; it’s a hub for community access and inclusion. The team has forged partnerships within the community, hosting accessible and inclusive events. Most recently, their journey extends beyond retail, as they’ve ventured into consulting and training. Empowered by the community’s trust, they now train staff and schools, empowering leaders to educate all members of our vibrant community.

And, the business community will have the opportunity to hear from Lauren and Katie at the Future of Work Summit on October 24 at Great Wolf Lodge.

At the Future of Work Summit, Lauren and Katie will share invaluable insights on creating inclusive workplaces for neurodiverse employees. As small business owners, they’ve experienced firsthand the transformative power of inclusivity.

Consider this: 10 to 20% of the population is neurodivergent, yet a staggering 85% of autistic adults remain underemployed or unemployed, despite many holding college degrees. It’s time for change.

Their workshop will unveil remarkably simple and cost-effective methods to foster inclusivity:

Revamp Job Postings: Rethink how job postings are designed to attract diverse talent.

Enhance Onboarding: Streamline the onboarding process with neurodiverse-friendly practices.

Optimize Scheduling: Tailor schedules to accommodate diverse needs.

A crucial tip they’ll offer: Embrace plain language. Clarity is key, from job postings to policy manuals. Eliminate ambiguity, provide scripts and templates, and communicate expectations clearly.

Lauren Howard

They’ll highlight the importance of including neurodivergent populations in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Neurodivergence encompasses various brain functions beyond the ‘typical,’ including autism, ADHD, and more.

Additionally, they’ll shed light on conference inclusivity:

Alternative Seating: Accommodate diverse seating preferences.

Virtual Options: Always offer a virtual conference option.

Sensory Recovery Areas: Provide spaces for individuals to step away and regulate.

Their presentation will delve into the eight sensory systems, emphasizing that we all experience sensory processing. By creating inclusive environments, they’ve attracted overqualified candidates who feel supported, honored, and free to be themselves.

Join Lauren and Katie at the Future of Work Summit on October 24 to discover actionable steps for immediate implementation and a pathway to a more inclusive and diverse workforce. 


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