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Neurodiversity and the Library

Some tips and resources for navigating the Library while neurodivergent, and for learning more about neurodiversity

Accessible Services

The Library strives to provide services to everyone. Period.

My accessibility questions:

  1. What is that you are trying to do?
  2. What do you need to make that happen?
  3. What information can I help you get so you can do that or so you can figure out what you need?


"Neurodiversity is a concept where neurological differences are to be recognized and respected as any other human variation. These differences can include those labeled with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome, and others.

"For many autistic people, neurodiversity is viewed is a concept and social movement that advocates for viewing autism as a variation of human wiring, rather than a disease. As such, neurodiversity activists reject the idea that autism should be cured, advocating instead for celebrating autistic forms of communication and self-expression, and for promoting support systems that allow autistic people to live as autistic people."

National Symposium on Neurodiversity at Syracuse University. (2011.) What is neurodiversity?

Neurodiverse: having neurological characteristics different from the average or typical

Neurotypical: having neurological characteristics that are considered common

Person first language: "person with [condition]" phrasing - person with autism, person with cancer, person with a disability

Identity first language: "[adj. for condition] person" phrasing - autistic person, blind person, disabled person

Many neurodiverse people prefer identity first language, as they see the condition as part of their identity. Others prefer person first language, which is especially common with conditions that are seen more as medical issues. Person first language is standard in many professional and legal settings, but that is changing. This guide will follow identity first language as a preference, but may use person first to avoid negative connotations or awkward sentence construction!

Social model of disability: seeing disabilities as primarily issues that arise from a lack of societal support or integration

Medical model of disability: seeing disabilities as primarily issues that arise when something has gone wrong with the body

This guide will strive to follow the social model, including avoiding language like "Autism Spectrum Disorder" in favor of "Autism Spectrum Condition".