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The Basics of Neurodiversity


" the phenomenon of variability between people in how our brains process information and therefore experience the world."

1 in 7 people in the UK are neurodivergent

Autism Spectrum ConditionLink opens in a new window

"Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people communicate and interact with the world. As it is a spectrum condition, it affects people in different ways. Here is a list of difficulties autistic people may share:

  • Social communication and social interaction challenges
  • Repetitive and restrictive behaviour
  • Over-or under-sensitivity to light, sound, taste, or touch
  • Highly focused interests or hobbies
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Meltdowns and shutdowns"

(taken from National Autistic SocietyLink opens in a new window)

Warwick Social Inclusion Conference 2022

What Autistic Students Wish You KnewLink opens in a new window

This is not a complete exhaustive list of neurodiverse conditions but an introduction. You can find out more here.

History of Disability

Model of Disability

This toolkit follows the social model of disability: that it is our responsibiity to reduce the barriers that society have created for disabled people. rather than expecting those who are disabled to assimilate into an unfair society.

Equality Act 2010

You are disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if 'you have a physical or mental impairment that has a 'substantial' and 'long term' negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities'

This means that disability is a protected characteristic and requires institutions, such as education, to have a legal requirement to make appropriate adjustments for those with disabilities

Equality Act 2010


Individuals with neurodiversity will have different experiences of their conditions and diagnosis. Some students have not yet been diagnosed and this can be a stress-inducing time. This video was created by a student who has been waiting for an ASD diagnosis.


The student (and general) experience of neurodiversity often means that individuals experience a variety of barriers to accessing the same level of education. It is important to recognise how other levels of privilege, characteristics, and discrimination may further exacerbate the experiences of those who are already marginalised. This can be in the form of sexism, racism, homophobia, and classism)