Neurodiversity and Digital Accessibility

Neurodivergence is an umbrella term that includes: ADHD, Autism and Specific Learning Difficulties (e.g. Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia). 

While each of these differences has its own characteristics, the concept of Neurodiversity views them as variations in how human brains can work - human brain diversity.

They may be diagnosed or undiagnosed - it can take up to several years to get a diagnosis - and may or may not have been communicated to you by your students or colleagues. It is estimated that around 1 in 7 people in the UK are neurodivergent, with the rest being neurotypical. If you get a related request, please try to meet it whenever reasonable.

On this page, you can:

Please also see how to make them accessible and inclusive more generally.

Understanding Neurodiversity


Between 3-5% of people have ADHD. Understand ADHD and find tips, strategies and tools that help with motivation, productivity, etc using the resources below.


At least 1 in 100 people are autistic. Learn more about Autism with resources suggested by our Student Digital Accessibility Champion, Freya Selman.

Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia


If you are neurodivergent, there are a few ways you could get support:


Digital accessibility tips

  • Making your device easier to use
  • Alternative formats with Blackboard Ally
  • Colours and contrast – some tools/websites will allow you to change these (e.g dark mode). For the rest, there are browser plugins that can change many pages’ contrast or colour scheme (e.g. grayscale).
  • Spelling - if the tool you are writing in doesn’t have a built-in spellchecker, you could use a browser plugin.
  • Text-to-Speech – Whether because you always prefer audio to text, or because you want to be able to listen to information while moving around sometimes, there are various Text-to-Speech (TTS) tools out there that can enable you to listen to digital text. There are also Speech-to-Text tools that may help with notetaking.
  • Planning and Productivity – Calendar, alarm, timer, to-do list apps etc. can help you manage your time and stay on task (or get off a task). Breaking big tasks into smaller ones and planning when you will do them and for how long may help you meet deadlines.

Creating Neurodiversity-friendly content and activities

Check content for accessibility issues

  • Make sure text to speech software can read any text you provide properly. Scanned documents (rather than typed ones) are the most likely to cause issues.
  • If you are working with physical copies of text, ensure you provide digital versions as well, so people can use assistive technology if they need to.
  • Ensure your resources are dyslexia-friendly.

Provide content early

  • This allows your audience to prepare, refresh their memory or look up things they don't know in advance. It also helps reduce the cognitive load during synchronous online or face to face sessions, when people are simultaneously trying to understand, take notes and remember what has been said.

Give options

  • Visualisations are helpful to lots of people, but others will find them confusing. Depending on what you want to do, consider using a digital tool that can automatically create different versions of a visualisation, or provide an alternative, more structured format.
  • Consider providing different options for assessment. If the purpose is for students to learn about a topic, is an essay the only way to demonstrate their skills, or would a video assignment work just as well?
  • When reasonable, give options to participants about whether they participate face to face or online, synchronously or asynchronously.
  • In online sessions, let your audience choose whether they have their camera on /off.

Be clear, concise, consistent

  • Keep your course and materials clean and uncluttered, their navigation and appearance consistent and their behaviour logical and predictable.
  • Instructions, expectations and next steps should be clear. Questions to ask yourself:
    • Is what I’m asking for clear?
    • Are any activities highlighted/bold/distinguishable from blocks of text?
    • Have I used unnecessary metaphors without identifying them as metaphors?
    • Have I made it clear what is essential work and what is extra?
    • Is it clear how participants can get in touch if they have questions?
  • Ensure your reading lists are well structured

Ask, don't assume

  • Ask your audience's feedback on your resources to understand how you can improve them.
  • Don't assume they are distracted if they are doing something you didn't expect during learning. They may be handling their learning in the way that suits them.