Work-integrated learning initiative for neurodiverse students

In partnership with the Sinneave Family Foundation, the initiative aims to ensure neurodivergent students thrive in work-integrated learning opportunities.

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Get involved

Do you identify as neurodivergent? Want to join the work as an ally? We are inviting students, staff, faculty and community to be part of the process. There are opportunities for sharing your experience with neurodiversity and for ongoing involvement. Email us to find out more.

Email us

What is neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity reflects the idea that people experience and interact with the world in different ways — including ways of thinking, learning and experiencing their environment.

A student may or may not identify with any number of neurodevelopmental conditions, such as Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADHD), autism, dyslexia, or learning differences. 

According to a recent UCalgary survey on experiential learning, 17% of students self-identify as being neurodiverse.

What is work-integrated learning?

Work integrated learning (WIL) is defined as experiential learning activities that occur in a workplace. WIL activities are part of students’ degree programs and match students with an industry or community partner for cooperative education placements, internships, consulting projects, clinical placements, field experiences, practicums or partnered capstone courses. Some opportunities are paid, some are not.

WIL is a valuable post-secondary experience for any student, connecting them with industry and community partners, helping them build skills and strengthen their career readiness.


NICE Workshops for Faculty & Staff

These student-led workshops for faculty and staff are part of the Neurodiversity Immersive Campus Experience (NICE). More information can be found on the registration page for all events.

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Creating a Sensory-Friendly Environment

In this 50-minute online session, Randesh will provide an overview of how sensory-friendly environments are essential components of creating inclusive learning and advising experiences for students who are neurodiverse.

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Teaching and Advising Students

This online session aims to enhance course instructors and advisors’ understanding of neurodiverse students’ learning experiences. In this online 50-minute session, Kamilah will discuss potential challenges that neurodiverse students may face in classroom settings and provide example strategies that can help to support inclusive and successful learning environments. Suggestions for how these strategies can be applied to workshops and advising settings will also be highlighted.

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Navigating University

In this 50-minute online session, Kamilah will discuss some of the different ways neurodivergent students experience the university environment, including accessing services and participating in university activities and processes. This session will provide particular strategies to enhance our support of neurodiverse students.

Building a foundation to support neurodiverse students

UCalgary's Experiential Learning Plan, along with our partnership with The Sinneave Family Foundation, builds on other important activities that support equitable pathways for neurodiverse students.

Neurodiversity Support Advising

Housed within Student Wellness Services, the Neurodiversity Support Advisor helps neurodiverse students enhance their strengths, support their well-being, set and achieve goals, and navigate on and off campus resources.

Neurodiversity Support Advising

Azrieli Accelerator

The Azrieli Accelerator drives neurodevelopmental research across the lifespan. It supports transdisciplinary teams in developing new interventions and treatments to enable improved outcomes for children, youth, and adults.

Azrieli Accelerator

Vice-Provost of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Dr. Malinda Smith is leading the development of an integrated institutional strategic plan to build an equitable, diverse, inclusive, and accessible campus community. This includes cultivating equitable pathways for neurodiverse students.

Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Calgary Consortium for Work-Integrated Learning

Seven post-secondary institutions in Calgary are collaborating with Calgary Economic Development to advance work-integrated learning. Other post-secondary and industry partners can leverage our learnings to improve systems across the province.

Steps on our journey

Engage with neurodiverse students and community

Partner with neurodiverse students to understand their experiences in order to inform our work and influence systems change, as well as future trainings and support for service providers. Engage with employers and community partners to understand their needs.

Explore and expand universal-design

Expand accessibility for all by designing (or redesigning) places, programs and services to better meet people's diverse needs when using or partaking in these facets of experiences at UCalgary.

Foster cross-campus learning and connection

Explore with partners how to improve the experience of neurodiverse students, sharing learnings and findings from previous work. Connect faculty, staff and community partners working in WIL to neurodiverse students in meaningful ways.

Facilitate campus-wide change

Engage the UCalgary community and other stakeholders in creating direction, alignment, and action to address systemic change for neurodiverse students accessing WIL. 

Sinneave Family Foundation

About The Sinneave Family Foundation

The Sinneave Family Foundation (Sinneave) works to reduce barriers and facilitate opportunities for autistic youth and adults to live, learn, work and thrive in their communities and to realize their desired futures. Sinneave draws on expertise and experience in innovative program and service development, knowledge sharing and collaborative community activities that generate lasting outcomes.

UCalgary and The Sinneave Family Foundation

Partnering with The Sinneave Family Foundation and learning from their deep expertise, resources and programs will bolster the success and sustainability of work-integrated learning programs and support equitable participation in these programs for neurodiverse students.