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TLA 2021 Conference Presentation: Working with Neurodiverse Students in the College Setting

This guide is a summary of a presentation given at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference 2021 by Chelsea Anderson and Erin O"Toole.


"Working with Neurodiverse Students in the College Setting" is a virtual presentation recorded for the Texas Library Association Annual Conference 2021. A live chat Q&A session took place on March 22, 10:15 am to 11:15 pm. The recording is available for conference registrants in the TLA conference portal. The slide deck, handout of hypothetical situations, and transcription of the session are available below. This guide includes the content from the presentation plus additional resources.

Presenter biographies:

Chelsea Anderson is a University of North Texas (UNT) doctoral candidate in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology who is doing her research on auditory problems in youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She is a certified Speech-Language Pathology therapist. Chelsea is a faculty advisor for the student-run Eagle Chat, a UNT support group for neurodivergent students.

Erin O'Toole is the subject librarian for the UNT College of Science and co-advisor for Eagle Chat. She is also a member of the UNT's Neurodiversity Initiative Advisory Committee and Neurodiversity Professional Network.

Presentation Abstract and Slideshow

The likelihood of STEM librarians interacting with students who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is increasing as recent research estimates 34% of college students with ASD are now entering the STEM disciplines (Wei et al., 2013). This presentation will provide STEM librarians with a general overview of the behaviors associated with ASD. Our focus will be on the corresponding strengths students with ASD bring to STEM and the needs that must be met for them to achieve academic success. We will also explore hypothetical situations with neurodiverse students in the classroom setting and one-on-one meetings. Participants will leave with resources to support further learning about ASD and positive interactions with students. 


Wei, X., Yu, J., Shattuck, P., McCracken, M., & Blackorby, J. (2013). Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) participation among college students with an autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43(7), 1539-1546. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-012-1700-z

Other Library Guides

Visit the UNT Libraries' other guides about neurodiversity for more reading and resources:

Neurodiversity Resources for UNT Students

Neurodiversity Resources for UNT Faculty and Staff

Additional Links