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CSL in Session: Supporting Students with Invisible Disabilities in the Library Classroom

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October 19, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm MDT

Session Archive

Session Slides (PDF)

It is estimated that approximately 20% of all students in the United States have some sort of disability. Most of these disabled students have disabilities that are not obvious to an observer. Such disabilities are generally called “invisible disabilities,” or “non-apparent disabilities,” and they include a wide range of conditions that cause physical, medical, psychological, developmental/learning, sensory, or emotional impairments that disrupt a student’s access to education. Invisible disabilities are often poorly understood and hard to identify or diagnose. Students with invisible disabilities may not know they have disabilities and even if they do, may not receive supports or accommodations.

In this session, I will give a brief overview of invisible disabilities, neurodivergence, and ableism, then discuss ways to support disabled students in library classrooms. I will frame my discussion from the perspective of the social model of disability (which argues that disability is the product of a society that is not set up to be inclusive) and will explore some of the ideas offered by Universal Design for Learning (UDL,) a well-established method of providing access to disabled students in educational settings.

Although geared somewhat towards higher education, this session is useful for anyone who has a public facing position or teaches groups of students. Knowledge about invisible disabilities can help us all provide better services, instruction, and supports for students and patrons in all types of libraries.

No registration is needed. Simply click on the Adobe Connect link to join the session!


About the presenter

Elizabeth Novosel HeadshotElizabeth Novosel has been a librarian at the University of Colorado Boulder for the past six years and works with a variety of departments, including: computer science, mathematics, economics, information science, and German.


October 19, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm MDT