In an effort to put the awareness that sensory regulation is key to neurodivergent students’ physical and emotional comfort into action, Aurora University (IL) designed residence hall space specifically to meet their needs. The sensory-supportive living and social space interiors “are designed with the goal of alleviating anxiety so that students can focus their energy and emotions on a positive college experience,” according to their Pathways for Neurodiversity site. “These spaces include a sensory room and program space to support neurodiverse students.”

Design features within the space include:

  • “Common spaces with flexible seating
  • Quiet study spaces outside of the residence hall rooms
  • Semi-private bathrooms including showers with adjustable water pressure
  • Dimmable and tunable lighting
  • Cool, pale colors
  • Flooring to reduce sound
  • Patterns that limit visual stimuli”

Pathways Collegiate Program

This sensory-supportive residence hall space is one example of the services available through Aurora’s Pathways Collegiate Program. The program is “designed with a broad array of services to help students on the autism spectrum, with ADHD, or other learning differences succeed while they are attending Aurora University with a specific focus on social pragmatic and executive functioning support.”

This immersive support system aims to help neurodiverse students adjust to campus life, earn their degree and make a successful transition to the workplace. Qualified students must apply to the program, meeting requirements such as being under 23 years old when they begin, having no aggressive incidents or threats/acts of self-harm in recent years, being able to take general education classes with limited assistance, meeting the minimum ACT score of 19 or SAT score of 101 and more.

Source: Pathways for Neurodiversity, Aurora University

    Discover numerous campus strategies like this one, training tools and infographics within our NEW Creating a Neurodiverse-Friendly Campus: Engagement, Support & Inclusion Practices to Help Students Thrive guide.