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Read.Watch.Listen. Supporting Neurodiversity in Engineering

February 2023 Issue

A monthly forum to share diversity, equity, and inclusion resources.


Welcome to the next installment of Read.Watch.Listen. This month, we explore how companies can support neurodiversity in engineering. To begin this issue, we want to share a resource that describes what neurodiversity is and why it matters. Neurodivergent individuals include those with autism, attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and dyslexia. More broadly, neurodiversity can also include individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI), anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This issue will focus specifically on supporting neurodivergent individuals, but we hope you consider reading the previous issue of Read.Watch.Listen for ways to help employees and coworkers with mental illnesses.


In discussions surrounding the benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), neurodiversity can often be overlooked. However, numerous studies have shown links between autism and engineering and links between ADHD and creativity in engineering. Neurodivergent engineers can be significant assets to companies, provided the employees are given a work environment where they can thrive. The following resources describe ways to support individuals with autism and/or ADHD through college and in the workplace.


February is also Black History Month! Check out a previous edition of Read.Watch.Listen, where we highlighted a number of notable Black Engineers.


Photo Credit: Image by Freepik


Read.Watch.Listen is a monthly forum hosted by the NCSEA SE3 Committee to share and promote conversations on diversity, equity and inclusion within the structural engineering profession. Each month, we will curate a series of articles, audio-visual and digital media to facilitate self-education in matters that affect our professional practice as structural engineers. Whether you choose to read, watch, or listen (or all three!), we hope you will join us in this important conversation.


Share your thoughts and/or recommended resources for the next issue at ncsea@ncsea.com.

 

A waste of talent? Making space for autism in engineering - The Engineer

Only 15% of adults with autism have full time work, which this author asserts is a waste of talent, especially by engineering firms. The article notes that individuals with autism can approach problems with a unique perspective, visualize complex systems, and focus on tasks at hand. These are all attributes that are beneficial for engineers to possess, and engineering firms should recognize the strength in this diversity of thought and strive to provide autism-friendly work environments.


 

Neurodiversity Inspired Science & Engineering at Vanderbilt’s Frist Center for Autism & Innovation - WebsEdge Science








The Frist Center for Autism and Innovation at Vanderbilt University strives to understand and promote neurodiverse talent. In this video, students and teachers at Vanderbilt University discuss some of the research and technology being implemented to help neurodiverse engineering students succeed.


 

Engineering my career as a woman with ADHD - How’d You Get That Job?

This podcast episode interviews Kellie - a mechanical engineer with ADHD. She shares her experiences as a neurodivergent, female engineer working on sustainability in the built environment. She discusses barriers that she has faced, describes tools that help her at work, and shares advice for other young individuals with ADHD who are considering engineering.


 

This article was originally published in the February 2023 issue of NCSEA's Structural Connection newsletter. For more information, check out NCSEA's DEI Resources.

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