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SEFI@work: The experience of neurodiverse engineering students: support for success

Wednesday, 15 March '23   2pm – 3pm CET
Online on Zoom

This is an online event.

Joining instructions will be provided after booking.


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion SIG and Engineering Skills SIG
SEFI@work: The experience of neurodiverse engineering students: support for success

15 March 2023 - 14:00-15:00 CET / 8:00-9:00 EST

Neurodiversity Celebration Week ( which takes
place from 13-19 March 2023.

The webinar will consist of three 15-minute talks with a panel session to conclude
In recent years the number of engineering students with non-visible disabilities
(NVDs) such as ADHD and ASD have increased. These students face many
barriers, for example: bias around decisions regarding accommodations; dependence of grades on suitability of reasonable adjustments stigma over disclosure of disability; and a disability
employment, retention and progression gap. There is also insufficient academic training and
understanding of how disabilities affect learning and academic performance, and
staff attitudes toward disability support have been shown to have a direct impact on
academic success.

These issues are compounded by the learning experience within HE, which varies substantially from that within schools in which learning is often highly structured. At the same time there is shift in pedagogical approaches used within engineering education and a higher degree of unstructured time and informal instruction. In comparison, existing accommodations developed for traditional learning
environments and it is unclear whether reasonable adjustments allow students to develop the professional skills (e.g., flexibility, executive functioning) increasingly required by engineering employers. This alongside, the non-academic factors which may affect disabled students, may result in lower levels of self-efficacy and reduced outcomes, particularly with respect to employability, this reducing the potential for the profession to benefit from their abilities which include strong divergent thinking, creativity, innovation and risk-taking.

In this session, we will discuss the unique perspectives that neurodiverse students can bring to engineering, how they experience engineering education, and ways in which we can support them.

Speaker information:

Dr. Gillian Saunders-Smits (Delft University of Technology, NL)
Neurodiversity - the inclusiveness vs. labeling paradox

Dr. Vanda Papafilippou; Miss Lucy Downes (University of West England Bristol, UK)
Exploring the experience of neurodivergent engineers in the workplace

Mariah Arral (Carnegie Mellon University, US)
Work-in-Progress: Inclusive Mentoring Strategies for Neurodivergent Undergraduate
Researchers in STEM

Online event information

Online on Zoom