Building Belonging: Neurodivergent Perspectives in Parks and Recreation (Part I) — Episode 148

By Cort Jones and Christina High | Posted on December 5, 2023

Episode 148 410 new

Pictured: Dave McDaniel III, Operations Coordinator for City of Mobile Parks and Recreation (left), and Kande Jones, Development Director for Mulvane Recreation Commission (right).

Note from the hosts: It's the last Open Space Radio episode of 2023! Thanks for listening and supporting the podcast this year. We can't wait to be back with even more park and recreation stories in 2024, for our next season centered around the theme, "Where You Belong." Until then, you can always find our previous episodes here. Now, on to today's episode:

Back in October at the 2023 NRPA Annual Conference, there was a session that really piqued our interest – so much so, that we wanted to turn it into a two-part podcast episode, with today’s episode being part one (and part two coming in Spring 2024!). 

The session, “Neurodiversity and Inclusive Workplaces: Insights from Park and Recreation Professionals,” explored the individual strengths neurodiverse professionals bring to their work and the strategies and accommodations that have helped them succeed, as well as ways to find workplace champions and allies.

The presenters also offered suggestions for how organizations can better support and include neurodiverse individuals in the field in a number of ways, and we’re excited to chat with two of the presenters on the show today: Kande Jones, the Development Director for Mulvane Recreation Commission in Kansas, and Dave McDaniel, the Operations Coordinator for City of Mobile Parks and Recreation in Alabama.

Tune in to our conversation below to hear from Kande and Dave as they share their experience as neurodivergent individuals and how it relates to their careers in parks and recreation. You’ll also learn:

  • How a career in parks and recreation can contribute to a positive working environment for neurodivergent individuals
  • Some of the challenges neurodivergent individuals face in the workplace (and solutions!)
  • How leaders, coworkers and peers can create a culture of belonging and safety for neurodivergent staff
  • What it meant to Kande and Dave to have the opportunity to discuss neurodiversity at the 2023 NRPA Annual Conference, and much more!

Listen to the episode for the full story.


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