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Supporting Neurodiverse Learners

This resource was initially developed by NNLM PSR Education & Outreach Librarian Julie Botnick and NNLM PSR undergraduate student assistant Katherine Zhuo. 

For comments, recommendations, and questions, please email psr-nnlm@library.ucla.edu.


This page is a resource for educators, instructional designers, website developers, librarians, and students who are interested in learning more about how to support neurodiverse learners. If you have some favorite resources that should belong, please let us know.

The basics

The term “neurodiversity” is a concept more than a definition, label, or diagnosis. It’s notably defined in ways that are social, cultural, physical, and neurological. A neurodiverse perspective "regards individuals with differences in brain function and behavioral traits as part of normal variation in the human population." [1] People with dyslexia, autism, and ADHD are examples of neurodivergent learners. 

Neurodiverse students are not trying to be disruptive and are not attempting to derail learning spaces; support, understanding, and modifications to make educational opportunities more accessible to all will go a long way in supporting neurodiverse students to be successful.[2]

Neurodiverse learners are in every class you teach, participate in every presentation you gave, and are on every email listserv you post to. Therefore, understanding some basics about how to make your materials more accessible to neurodiverse learners will have a huge impact on your audience! 

This short guide can’t cover everything, and “neurodiversity” is a broad umbrella term that refers to a spectrum, not any single group.

This guide also does not cover the health information needs of neurodiverse learners, but ways that neurodiverse learners can fully participate in all your work.