Being Neurodivergent in Academia: Your tips, tools and resources

A crowdsourced list of practical advice on how to navigate the research environment, from and for neurodivergent scientists.

While preparing our collection of articles on ‘Being Neurodivergent in Academia’, we invited neurodivergent academics to share resources, tools and strategies that they had found useful when working in research. These contributions have now been collated in a public list, for the benefit of other researchers in the community.

Line drawing of a human figure sitting on a stylised brain, in front of white sparks on a golden yellow background.
Vicky Bowskill (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

We acknowledge that these resources do not represent an appropriate response to the structural issues that neurodivergent scientists may be facing in and outside of academia. This effort should not detract from the need for institutional and policy changes, or suggest that the focus should be solely on individuals trying to ‘manage themselves’.

Still, we hope that a few of these crowdsourced tips may be helpful and valuable to some in the short term — including for neurotypical mentors looking to start a conversation with their neurodivergent colleagues. By offering a platform for neurodivergent scientists to share their experiences safely, we also hope that people with similar experiences may feel less isolated and be encouraged to adopt strategies that they find useful for themselves.

We welcome further submissions, including words of support and encouragement.

Current submissions include advice regarding:

Working in the lab

“I use visual cues like different coloured tape and sized bottles”, shares a dyslexic researcher, “so I have redundant systems to help me identify if I am about to use the wrong one”. “I do calculations for my experiments the day before” explains someone with dyscalculia, while a few scientists recommend “build[ing] an excel table that will automatically calculate things” for them. When learning complicated protocols, a student decided to “use a GoPro (with permission)”; another concurs: “Don’t be afraid to ask to be taught new techniques in a way that makes it easier for you to understand.”


Researchers highlight a range of software and apps they find useful in their work, such as Writefull for academic writing, StudyTogether or Focusmate to find body-doubling and “accountability buddies”, to make and break down to-do lists, or ResearchRabbit to streamline literature searches.


“Check rules and regulations concerning your medication in the country you are travelling to, and any countries you are travelling through” encourages a fieldwork researcher with ADHD. Meanwhile, an AuDHD scientist recommends to “get on the waiting lists to access mental health professionals in the area you are moving to” as soon as possible when relocating abroad.


“When disclosing to someone new, focusing on the symptoms you experience over medical jargon is typically more helpful (e.g.: ‘I have trouble remembering things and staying still’ instead of ‘I have executive function issues and deal with hyperactivity’)” writes one contributor; “When appropriate, I've found it helpful to mention my disability as a mechanism to normalize it for both myself and my peers: "I'm dyslexic, give me a moment to orient myself to the data", echoes another.


“Join peer support groups” stresses one researcher — Flex Your ADHD is among the suggestions. And above all: “learn about your needs so you can take care of yourself”.


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