Cultivating Neurodiverse Learners in Engineering
Unconventional thinking drives innovation in engineering, yet the path through an engineering education can discourage students who learn and think in an unconventional way. Dr. Sheila Ross, Electrical Engineering Program Director and Associate Professor at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and a graduate of the Landmark College certificate program in Learning Differences and Neurodiversity, was recently interviewed about the changes she has implemented in her university’s engineering programs to support and leverage the talents of students with learning disabilities, ADHD, and autism.
In Radical Inclusion, a recent article in PRISM, a publication of the American Society for Engineering Education, Dr. Ross describes some of the challenges faced by neurodiverse engineering students—from teamwork to lecture notes to submitting work—and the often simple changes that can make the curriculum more accessible to all learners.
Inspired by the trainings Dr. Ross created on neurodiversity and universal design, other engineering faculty have begun implementing changes in their courses. She has now started a multidepartment working group to explore how universal design can be implemented university-wide. For more on how Milwaukee School of Engineering and other engineering programs are addressing the challenges and contributions of diverse learners, see the PRISM article at http://www.asee-prism.org/radical-inclusion/