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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion


This page serves as an introduction to Disability, Neurodiversity and Accessibility. To find more information and research tips explore these guides: 


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), defines disability as: any condition of the body or mind that makes it more difficult to do certain activities and interact with the world.

The World Health Organization's (WHO) disability overview emphasizes environmental and societal barriers:

"Disability results from the interaction between individuals with a health condition, such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and depression, with personal and environmental factors including negative attitudes, inaccessible transportation and public buildings, and limited social support."

Some definitions may be more appropriate in certain contexts. To explore the impact of defining disability further, investigate different models of disability.


Neurodiversity positions individuals with differences in brain function and behavioral traits as part of normal human variation. The Neurodiversity movement aims to uncover the strengths of neurodivergent people. (Stanford's Neurodiversity Project).

According to the Harvard Health blog, neurodiversity "is often used in the context of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as other neurological or developmental conditions such as ADHD or learning disabilities" (Baumer & Frueh, 2021).


Accessibility refers to the intentional inclusion of people experiencing a disability. Accessibility refers to places, experiences, and things. "Accessibility means that people can do what they need to do in a similar amount of time and effort as someone that does not have a disability." (Duggin, "What we mean when we talk about accessibility").

Accessibility professionals often focus on creation, design or planning. Accessibility is intentional.


"Ableism is a set of beliefs or practices that devalue and discriminate against people with physical, intellectual, or psychiatric disabilities and often rests on the assumption that disabled people need to be ‘fixed’". (Leah Smith, Center for Disability Rights.) Ableism can be found in systems and policies, as well as in interactions between people.


These tabs offer a small selection of resources on disability and neurodiversity. To view more recommendations see this list of more resources or explore the Snell Library website

Explore these databases to find articles and other resources: 

Looking for a topic? 

Consider one of these:

  • cultural norms and variation within the disability community
  • strategies for inclusion (personal, political, societal) 
  • how people with a specific identity (e.g., autism spectrum) experience life differently in one country compared to another
  • media representation of neurodivergent individuals
  • The psychological effect of bullying
  • accessibility planning
  • universal design for learning

Northeastern & Beyond Resources

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