Creating a Supportive Workplace for Neurodivergent Employees


Tuesday, April 23, 2024 | 1:00 PM (EDT) - 3:00 PM (EDT)

Workshop Overview:

Most work settings have been designed by neurotypical people, for neurotypical people, yet an estimated 15-20% of Canadians identify as neurodivergent. Many highly skilled neurodivergent individuals encounter workplace barriers that affect their ability to thrive in the workplace. In this workshop we will highlight the lived experience of two forms of neurodivergence: autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We will identify common workplace barriers and challenges and review recommended practices that support neurodivergent employees.  

Participants will review their workplace from a neurodivergent perspective, explore the hidden curriculum in their workplace, and discuss ways to incorporate recommendations that would benefit neurodivergent and neurotypical employees, alike. We will use interactive large group activities and small group discussions in break-out rooms throughout the workshop. Recognizing that not everyone enjoys interactive activities, we encourage all participants to respect their individual comfort level with participation.  This 2-hour workshop includes a short break.  

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of this workshop you will be able to: 

  • Define neurodiversity and neurodivergence 

  • Describe workplace barriers that neurodivergent employees commonly encounter 

  • Explain what is meant by the hidden curriculum and how it impacts neurodivergent employees 

  • Describe workplace processes and practices that reduce barriers and increase support for neurodivergent employees 


No preparation required 

Intended Audience: 

All Waterloo employees 

Workshop Format: 

Online synchronous


2 hours


Christine Zaza, Workplace Accessibility Specialist, Disability Inclusion Team Accessibility at Waterloo 

Jennifer O’Brien, Learning Strategist, AccessAbility Services 

Bio: Christine has a PhD in Health Studies and has completed postgraduate training in adult learning, learning disabilities, autism, and positive education. She has developed and taught Waterloo’s undergraduate Mental Health Literacy course and has created resources to support autistic high school students who are transitioning to post-secondary school.  

Jennifer O’Brien, Learning Strategist, AccessAbility Services 

Bio: Jennifer is a certified teacher with the Ontario College of Teachers. She has worked in the field of education for over 15 years, more recently for the last 7 years with AccessAbility Services as a Learning Strategist.