Canadian Association for Supported Employment

Helpful Definitions


Neurodiversity is a term used to describe differences in the way people’s brains work. The idea is that there is no “correct” or “incorrect” way for the brain to work. Instead, people perceive and respond to the world in a wide range of ways. These differences are to be embraced and encouraged.

 Neurodiversity refers to the diversity of all people. However, the word is often used in the context of: 

  • autism spectrum disorder (ASD), 
  • other neurological or developmental conditions (such as ADHD and ADD), and  
  • learning disabilities (such as dyslexia).  

Culturally appropriate supported employment model

A culturally appropriate supported employment model creates a respectful, inclusive, safe and healthy workplace environment for all people. A culturally relevant environment considers historical and current issues and their impacts, cultural practices, traditional knowledge, the importance of relationships, and the employment barriers and needs of persons who are members of a community. A cultural community could include a local First Nation community, Métis community, East Indian community, etc.

In culturally appropriate supported employment, we research, take training, consult, ask and carefully consider what we may not fully understand.

For example, an organization may have clients who belong to a local Métis community. Staff from that organization can research local Métis history and current issues and take available training. They can consult with Métis clients and local Métis communities, organizations, Elders and Knowledge Keepers. These consultations can highlight the unique, culturally relevant knowledge, relationships, barriers and needs of local Métis clients, which can inform the development of tailored services. 


In the supported employment sector, the word “sustainable” can have multiple meanings.

Programs and services are sustainable when organizations have the capacity and the funding to ensure activities can continue in the long term. 

In supported employment, sustainable can also refer to:

  • Follow-up supports for job seekers and employers for as long as they’re needed.
  • Employment stability and career enhancement that are valued. 

Definition adapted from the following source: