Therapist Neurodiversity Collective


Julie Roberts, M.S., CCC-SLP, founding CEO of Therapist Neurodiversity Collective, Inc.™ is a frequent neurodiversity speaker, educator, and trainer who delivers thought-provoking, evidence-based presentations that challenge audiences to re-examine their beliefs about Autism and outdated and damaging therapy and education practices. 

Julie is a late-diagnosed Autistic ASHA certified, licensed Speech-Language Pathologist who has been practicing in schools, pediatric clinics, rehab hospitals, and outpatient units since 1999.

Get in touch with Julie at to find out more and check her availability.

The Gold Standard Fallacy of ABA - A Reference Guide for Therapists, Educators, & Parents

by Julie Roberts, M.S., CCC-SLP



Roberts J. (2023). Ableism, Code-Switching, and Camouflaging: A Letter to the Editor on Gerlach-Houck and DeThorne (2023). Language, speech, and hearing services in schools, 1–7. Advance online publication.

Hanna K. Ulatowska, Gloria Streit Olness, CaSaundra L. Hill, Julie A. Roberts & Molly W. Keebler (2000) Repetition in Narratives of African Americans: The Effects of Aphasia, Discourse Processes, 30:3, 265-283, DOI: 10.1207/S15326950dp3003_3

The E.C. Barksdale Memorial Essays in History 1993-1994, Volume 13 – First Place: M.M. McKnight Award in Texas Labor History – “Harry Weisbrod and the Founding of the American Federation of Government Employee Lodge 2132, Dallas, Texas, 1962”


IEPs, Ableist Goals and Parents’ Rights. Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. April 1, 2023.

SLPs directly contribute to autistic outcomes of trauma and suicidality through social skills training. Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. March 16, 2023

Toxic Social Skills Training Goals, “Be yourself, but not like that.” Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. February 22, 2023

Not allowed to say “I can’t.” Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. February 16, 2023.

Neurodiversity-Affirming Therapy: Positions, Therapy Goals, and Best Practices. Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. April 4, 2022

Neurodiversity and Autism Intervention (ABA) can’t be reconciled.  Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. November 5, 2021

Performative Neurodiversity – the appropriation and watering down of a Human Rights Movement for profit. Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. October 2, 1021

So an SLP was late-diagnosed as Autistic this week… Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. June 17, 2021

Nothing about Social Skills Training is Neurodivergence-Affirming – Absolutely nothing. Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. May 27, 2021

Why We Model Language and Honor All Communication, instead of Using PECS®. Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. January 13, 2021

On Writing Masking Goals for Middle School Girls – Stop it!  Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. August 13, 2020

Roberts, Julie, “FINDING THE RIGHT SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST (SLP) FOR YOUR AUTISTIC CHILD”. Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism. May 14, 2020

Why Perspective-Taking and Neurodiversity Acceptance? Part 2 of Training Social Skills is Dehumanizing: The One with the Therapy Goals. Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. February 15, 2020

The Problem with PECS®  Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. February 4, 2020

Training Social Skills is Dehumanizing (Part 1). Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. January 11, 2020

Why We Model Language and Honor All Communication, instead of Using PECS®. Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. January 13, 2021

A Letter from an SLP to a Parent, Immediately After an Autism Diagnosis for a 5-Year-Old. Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. November 15, 2019

An ASHA Certified SLP’s Personal Perspective on Collaboration, Interprofessional Practice and ABA. Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. November 10, 2019




 “The practice of teaching people to suppress their autistic traits to present as more neurotypical can have long-term implications for those people”, says Julie Roberts of the Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. Attempts to “treat” autism can cause children to hide or mask their traits to fit in, she explains, noting that she has done this throughout her life. Continual attempts to mask autistic traits may have negative effects on a person’s mental health. Studies—like one published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders in 2020—have linked masking to anxiety and depression, as well as to an increased risk for suicide…”

Watson, Stephanie. Constantino, Christopher D. ” Autistic is Me.” ASHA LeaderLive.  May/June 2022.  
Accessed 20, Aug. 2022.

“ABA is disrespectful of human rights,” Roberts says. “ABA interventions don’t look at the cause behind the behavior,” she says. “Is there a sensory issue? Is the child traumatized? Are they tired? Angry? Sleepy? Asking ‘why’ is just a compassionate way to deal with another human being, especially a child.” Roberts also opposes Applied Behavioral Analysis International’s (ABAI) support for the use of shock therapy by a residential center in Massachusetts. (The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the use of shock-therapy devices in March 2020.) “Not only does ABAI allow for the use of punishment, it offers guidance for exactly how to punish human beings in its code of ethics,” she says. The concept of “training” children with autism to present as neurotypical is artificial and unnecessary at best, and traumatic at worst, says Roberts. “‘Training’ social skills means that neurodivergent people must conform to unrealistic, obscure, and often confusing neurotypical standards through masking,” Roberts explains…

Volker, Nancy. “When SLP Meets ABA.” ASHA LeaderLive. Oct. 1, 2020. Accessed 15 Nov. 2020.

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Julie’s work focuses on professional education about empathetic evidence-based therapy alternatives to ABA and similar behavioral therapy models that are
non-trauma inducing
prioritize mental health
respectful of autistic social communication differences
champion neurodivergent social justice, and human rights.

Her articles and educational resources have reached well over three-quarters of a million people and are frequently cited in other presentations and articles. 

Julie is a frequent speaker, trainer, and writer on such topics as:

  • Autistic Social Communication
  • Evidence-Based, Neurodiversity-Affirming Therapy Practices
  • The Neurodiversity Movement and the Implications for Therapy Practices
  • An Educators’ Guide to Autism: Contemporary Research and the Implications for a Trauma-Informed Classroom
  • The Detrimental Outcomes of Social Skills Training and an Alternative: “The Neurodiversity-Affirming Conceptual Practice Framework for Social Communication”   


The Neurodiversity Paradigm Model for Autistic Social Communication (Roberts, J. © 2019 – 2024)  is a groundbreaking neurodivergenceaffirming, anti-oppressive therapy practice framework developed by Julie to replace social skills training for autistic individuals and promote autistic thrivingThis Model is deeply rooted in the latest autism research – The Double Empathy ProblemDiversity in Social Intelligence, Monotropism, and Autistic Masking and Camouflage, and informed by the neurodiversity paradigm  movement

Throughout her career, Julie has served in various healthcare settings for both pediatric and adult populations and has held key healthcare leadership positions, including National Field Director of Corporate Compliance and Multi-state Regional Clinical Director for the nation’s largest provider of rehab post-acute care.  She is a passionate human rights advocate and activist.

Read what reviewers are saying about Julie’s presentations…

The Neurodiversity Movement: An Overview for Autism Service Providers

“The Neurodiversity Movement: An Overview for Autism Service Providers: 10164: Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).”, 21 June 2022,

Social Skills “Training”: A Neurodiversity-Affirming Framework

“Social Skills Training: A Neurodiversity-Affirming Framework: 10200: Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD): Social, Emotional, Behavioral.”, 26 July 2022,