What is Neurodiversity? Neurodiversity is the range of differences in individual brain function and behavioral traits, regarded as part of normal variation in the human population.
Neurological differences can include such differences as dyspraxia, dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism, Down Syndrome, and others. Acquired neurodivergence can include such things as traumatic brain injury, post-stroke, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.
A NEURODIVERSITY FACTS AND MYTHS PRIMER – THINKING PERSON’S GUIDE TO AUTISM
Neurodiversity FAQ. (n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2019, from http://www.thinkingautismguide.com/p/so-youre-doing-story-about.html
Increasing Neurodiversity in Disability and Social Justice Advocacy Groups – ASAN (Autistic Self Advocacy Network)
Hughes, J. M. F. (2016, June). Increasing Neurodiversity in Disability and Social Justice Advocacy Groups. Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Retrieved January 2019, from https://autisticadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/whitepaper-Increasing-Neurodiversity-in-Disability-and-Social-Justice-Advocacy-Groups.pdf
THE NEURODIVERSITY PARADIGM BY NICK WALKER – AUTISTIC UK CIC
What is Neurodiversity? Autistic UK CIC – Nothing about Autism without Autistics. (2020). Retrieved 2020, from https://autisticuk.org/neurodiversity/
Our Hotlinking Policy: What is a hotlink? It is the practice of placing a link on your own website directly to our free printable documents. Here are Therapist Neurodiversity Collective’s policies on hotlinking:
- You are not permitted to hotlink to any content on therapistndc.org without fully citing our work and making it clear to visitors on your website that it is not your own original work.
- You are not permitted to download our free printables and then upload them to your own website at any time (with a download link directly on your website).
- You are not permitted to capture images of our free educational printables and post them on your own website. If you would like to use one of our images in a NOT FOR PROFIT endeavor, such as in an educational blog or article, you must obtain our permission in writing and, the image must be fully credited as shown below and linked to therapistndc.org.
- Listing Therapist Neurodiversity Collective’s website as a recommended “Resource” on your website, and then linking directly to our Home Page or the Education Page is fine.
Free Printable Infographics
Therapist Neurodiversity Collective Infographics
Links to Free pdf Downloads:
8 Signs of a Respectful Therapist
We don’t train social skills
ADHD & RSD
Why We Don’t Use Social Thinking® (or any commercial Social Skills programs
IEP Makeovers for Neurodivergent Students
IEP Makeovers Part 2
Terms therapists should know
Parents Guide to ABA Therapy
Collective Membership Commitment
How to Be an Ableist Therapist
Eye Contact Goals
ABA Therapy in Skilled Nursing Homes
The Double Empathy Problem
Diversity in Social Intelligence
Contrasting Therapy Approaches
Social Skills Training & The Research
Learn Neurodiversity Terminology
Shocking Pro-Neurodiversity Therapy Practices
Question of the Day – Setting Boundaries
Be Aware of These Buzz Phrases
SLP vs BCBA
Relevant Themes in Institutional Racialisation in Autism and Research Practice
Explicit and Implicit Biases Toward Autism
A Conceptual Analysis of Autistic Masking_ Understanding the Narrative of Stigma and the Illusion of Choice
Social Cognition, Social Skill, and Social Motivation Minimally Predict Social Interaction Outcomes for Autistic and Non-Autistic Adults
You might be an ableist therapist if
AAC Connection and Autonomy
ABA has not changed
Q & A with Kieran Rose – Autism
We don’t treat Autism
We Practice Like This
The Tone Police
Free Printable Educational Posters
How to introduce Autism Anyone – Here are some fantastic resources from the Autistic Community:
The Secret Life of Rose: Inside An Autistic Head – by Miss Rose Smitten (Author), Mrs Jodie Smitten (Author), Dr Luke Beardon (Foreword)
Welcome to the Autistic Community – The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network – ASAN
Start Here: a guide for parents of autistic kids – The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network – ASAN
Understanding the Autistic Mind, Volume 1 – NeuroClastic
Coming Out to Family and Friends as Autistic – NeuroClastic
Vance, T. (2020, April 2). The Guide is here! Understanding the Autistic Mind 1. NeuroClastic. Retrieved June 7, 2020, from https://neuroclastic.com/guide/
How Do I Tell My Autistic Child About Autism? – NeuroClastic
Quirky.Stimmy.Cool. (2020, May 5). How Do I Tell My Autistic Child About Autism? NeuroClastic. Retrieved June 7, 2020, from https://neuroclastic.com/how-do-i-tell-my-autistic-child-about-autism/
TO TELL OR NOT TO TELL- WHY IT SHOULDN’T BE A QUESTION – Autism LevelUp!
Home Supports and Resources: To Tell or Not To Tell- Why it Shouldn’t Be a Question. Autism level up! (2020). Retrieved 2020, from https://autismlevelup.com/to-tell-or-not-to-tell-why-it-shouldnt-be-a-question/
(Regarding the following two books: Elkan will post books to US, and the ibooks are US accessible.)
It’s an Autism Thing – I’ll Help You Understand It
Video – Amazing Things Happen! (2017, April 9). Amazing Things Happen! YouTube. Retrieved February 15, 2019, from https://youtu.be/Ezv85LMFx2E
Autistic Community and the Neurodiversity Movement
“This open access book marks the first historical overview of the autism rights branch of the neurodiversity movement, describing the activities and rationales of key leaders in their own words since it organized into a unique community in 1992. Sandwiched by editorial chapters that include critical analysis, the book contains 19 chapters by 21 authors about the forming of the autistic community and neurodiversity movement, progress in their influence on the broader autism community and field, and their possible threshold of the advocacy establishment.”
Kapp, S. K. (Ed.). (2020). Autistic Community and the Neurodiversity Movement. Springer Link. Retrieved 2020, from https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-981-13-8437-0
The Therapist Neurodiversity Collective uses Identity First Langauge.
We identify people how they wish when conversing with them, but when writing reports, discussing clients or students, or in presentations, we use the non-stigmatizing language of Identity-First. Examples: “Autistic person”. “Autistic child”. “A child identified as Autistic”. “An Autistic student”.
Avoiding Ableist Language: Suggestions for Autism Researchers
“In this commentary, we describe how language is used to communicate about autism within much of autism research can reflect and perpetuate ableist ideologies (i.e., beliefs and practices that discriminate against people with disabilities), whether or not researchers intend to have such effects. Drawing largely from autistic scholarship on this subject, along with research and theory from disability studies and discourse analysis, we define ableism and its realization in linguistic practices, provide a historical overview of ableist language used to describe autism, and review calls from autistic researchers and laypeople to adopt alternative ways of speaking and writing. Finally, we provide several specific avenues to aid autism researchers in reflecting on and adjusting their language choices.”
Bottema-Beutel, K., Kapp, S., Lester, J., Sasson, N., & Hand, B. (2021). Avoiding Ableist Language: Suggestions for Autism Researchers. Autism in Adulthood, 3(1), 18-29. Published Online:18 Mar 2021 https://doi.org/10.1089/aut.2020.0014
Does Language Matter? Identity-First Versus Person-First Language Use in Autism Research: A Response to Vivanti
“There will not always be consensus on what autism is or how we should talk about autistic people—even among autistic people ourselves—but to ignore those autistic voices that have broken through into the academy lest they not be representative of every single autistic person is short-sighted. Linguistic framing, including the use of PFL, has material consequences for the autistic community, especially those who are non-speaking. The priority of research should be to centre autistic people (both speaking and non-speaking, and with, and without learning disabilities) in the conversation around the language used to describe autism and autistic people. If current studies are not representative enough of the entire autistic population the solution is to conduct more research.”
Botha, M., Hanlon, J. & Williams, G.L. Does Language Matter? Identity-First Versus Person-First Language Use in Autism Research: A Response to Vivanti. J Autism Dev Disord (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-020-04858-w
Editorial Perspective: The use of person-first language in scholarly writing may accentuate stigma
“Person-first language is used most frequently to refer to children with the most stigmatized disabilities.” ” Studies with participants of all ages, including professionals and scholars, consistently demonstrate that developmental disabilities (e.g. intellectual disability and autism) are more stigmatized than physical disabilities and sensory disabilities. In Web of Science titles, PubMed articles and titles, and Google Scholar articles, person-first language is used most frequently to refer to children with the most stigmatized disabilities (an average 93% for intellectual disability and 75% for autism); person-first language is used less frequently to refer to children with less stigmatized disabilities (18% for deafness; 28% for blindness; 32% for physical disability), and person-first language is used least frequently to refer to children with the least stigmatized condition (<1% for giftedness).”
Gernsbacher MA. Editorial Perspective: The use of person-first language in scholarly writing may accentuate stigma. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2017;58(7):859-861. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12706
Which terms should be used to describe autism? Perspectives from the UK autism community
“The term ‘autistic’ was endorsed by a large percentage of autistic adults, family members/friends, and parents but by considerably fewer professionals; ‘person with autism’ was endorsed by almost half of professionals but by fewer autistic adults and parents.”
Kenny L, Hattersley C, Molins B, Buckley C, Povey C, Pellicano E. Which terms should be used to describe autism? Perspectives from the UK autism community. Autism. 2016;20(4):442-462. doi:10.1177/1362361315588200
Reframing Professional Language Around Autism: Reflecting on our use of language in professional contexts
Psychology Today, June 10, 2020
A special presentation with Julie Roberts, a neurodivergence-affirming therapist, and founder of the Therapist Neurodiversity Collective: “Shifting Therapies towards an empathetic and respectful Neurodiversity Paradigm”.
- Why does therapy need to change? (Whole body listening, social communication expectations, compliance-based therapies, and outcomes, pathologizing natural autistic ways of interacting and communicating, tolerance, or the ‘extinguishing’ of sensory issues.)
- In what ways are the majority of therapists “behind” in contemporary Autism research knowledge? (Autism research that is done in conjunction with and by autistic researchers, Monotropism, Autistic Masking, and Camouflage, The Double Empathy Problem, Diversity in Social Intelligence)
- How do neurodivergence-affirming therapies reduce situations that lead to restraint and seclusion? (Therapy becomes about reaching the person where they are, goals become less about compliance and more about increasing personal agency and self-determination.)
WBAI 99.5 fm Pacifica Radio NYC, “Neurodiversity Experts Talk”
How to Choose a Therapist
“Finding the Right Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) For Your Autistic Child” – Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism
Roberts, J. A. (2020, May 14). Finding the right speech-language pathologist (SLP) for your autistic child. Finding the Right Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) For Your Autistic Child. Retrieved June 15, 2020, from http://www.thinkingautismguide.com/2020/05/finding-right-speech-language.html
For Whose Benefit?: Evidence, Ethics, and Effectiveness of Autism Interventions – Autistic Self Advocacy Network
“The white paper discusses autistic peoples’ perspectives on the ethics and purpose of autism interventions. It explains the ethical problems at the heart of the most popular autism intervention, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), as well as the lack of evidence to support ABA. And it examines how similar problems with both ethics and evidence can show up in other therapies. Finally, it gives initial ethical guidance on what’s helpful and harmful in autism services and research.”
Note: This guidance is available in three downloadable (pdf) formats: “an academic version aimed at researchers, policymakers, and professionals; an Easy Read document that uses pictures and large text; and a Plain Language version without accompanying graphics.”
For Whose Benefit? Evidence, Ethics, and Effectiveness of Autism Interventions. Autistic Self Advocacy Network. (2021, December). Retrieved January 2022, from https://autisticadvocacy.org/policy/briefs/intervention-ethics/
ABA as a Business Model
The role of private equity and lobbying in ABA funding: Talking with investigative journalist John Summers
APRIL 17, 2021, Noncompliant – the podcast. A podcast about neurodiversity and human rights.
As Private Equity Comes to Dominate Autism Services… It’s time to ask ourselves how long we want to keep rewarding bad behavior.
Summers, J. (2021, April 2). As private equity comes to dominate autism services…. The Nation. https://www.thenation.com/article/society/private-equity-autism-aba/
ABA AND PATIENTS’ RIGHTS:
Protect your loved ones and yourself from being subjected to the abuses of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) in the medical, rehab or skilled nursing setting:
Know the clinical background of anyone who is working with your loved one. SLPs and other clinical staff who use ABA models, and BCBAs and ABA Techs work in
- Acute care hospitals
- Inpatient rehabilitation facilities and private care clinics
- Traumatic Brain Injury clinics and facilities
- Skilled Nursing Facilities
ABA is used to control and manipulate the behavior of patients with Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-stroke, Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Age-Related Depression, Anxiety and Challenging Behaviors.
The push for the use of ABA in medical settings is a strategic business model, financially incentivized by the ABA industry at the expense of human dignity and patient rights.
Expanding the Consumer Base for Behavior-Analytic Services: Meeting the Needs of Consumers in the 21st Century
Leblanc, Linda A et al. “Expanding the consumer base for behavior-analytic services: meeting the needs of consumers in the 21st century.” Behavior analysis in practice vol. 5,1 (2012): 4-14. doi:10.1007/BF03391813
What you can do: Create a medical power of attorney and discuss your wishes with anyone who will be making medical decisions for you for how you wish to be treated if you should have a stroke, a TBI or be impacted with any cognitive injury. Address your wishes for swallowing and feeding therapy. Address your rights to refuse to participate in therapy which is disrespectful, manipulative or controlling. Put in your medical power of attorney whether or not you agree to be subjected to punishments and aversion therapy, including the withholding of foods, drinks, activities, and personal items in order to manipulate your behavior. The maximization of respect for patient autonomy and bodily integrity, rather than the imposition of the therapist’s professional values, is what the application of “informed consent” should endeavor to achieve.
Keep in mind that BCBAs and Behavior Techs pledge to treat all patients “consistent with the philosophical assumptions and principles of behavior analysis.” (Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts)
For more information: Acquired Neurological Conditions
Autism, Inc.: The Autism Industrial Complex
We contend that, within capitalism, the Autism Industrial Complex (aic) produces both autism as commodity and the normative cultural logic of intervention in relation to it. Comprised of ideological/rhetorical as well as material/economic infrastructure, we argue that the aic is not the myriad businesses and industries that capitalize and profit from it; rather, these constitute its epiphenomenal features. In the production of autism as commodity, the aic also simultaneously produces that commodity’s market, its consumers, and its own monopoly control of that market through production for consumption of need for, consent to, and legitimacy of interventionist logics. Within this apparatus, almost anyone can capitalize on and profit from autism. And within the aic, autistic people—their very bodies—function as the raw materials from which this industrial complex is built, even as autistic people—their very identities and selves—also become unwitting, and often unwilling, products of the aic.
In: Journal of Disability Studies in Education E-ISSN: 2588-8803 Print ISSN: 2588-879X Publisher: Brill
Ableist Narratives That Poison Disability Policy And Disabled People’s Lives
Pulrang, A. (2019, December 29). Ableist narratives that Poison Disability Policy and disabled people’s lives. Forbes.
It’s Time For A Reimagining Of Disability Etiquette
Pulrang, A. (2020, January 18). It’s time for a reimagining of disability etiquette. Forbes.
Books by Alfie Kohn:
It is primarily Alfie Kohn’s work that shapes the Therapist Neurodiversity Collective’s position on no use of behavior modification through positive reinforcement, or as he eloquently states, “control by seduction”.
“Alfie Kohn’s landmark challenge to carrot-and-stick psychology, featuring updated reflections and research in a major new afterword by the author
Our basic strategy for raising children, teaching students, and managing workers can be summed up in six words: Do this and you’ll get that. We dangle goodies (from candy bars to sales commissions) in front of people in the same way that we train the family pet.
Since its publication in 1993, this groundbreaking book has persuaded countless parents, teachers, and managers that attempts to manipulate people with incentives may seem to work in the short run, but they ultimately fail and even do lasting harm. Drawing from hundreds of studies, Kohn demonstrates that we actually do inferior work when we are enticed with money, grades, or other incentives—and are apt to lose interest in whatever we were bribed to do.
Promising goodies to children for good behavior, meanwhile, can never produce anything more than temporary obedience. Even praise can become a verbal bribe that gets kids hooked on our approval.
Rewards and punishments are two sides of the same coin—and the coin doesn’t buy much. What is needed, Kohn explains, is an alternative to both ways of controlling people. Hence, he offers practical strategies for parents, teachers, and managers to replace carrots and sticks. Seasoned with humor and familiar examples, Punished by Rewards presents an argument that is unsettling to hear but impossible to dismiss.”
Books by Julia Bascom:
Julia Bascom serves as Executive Director at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and a senior advisor and mentor to Therapist Neurodiversity Collective. Julia is an autistic writer and activist who has served on the New Hampshire DD council and is the founder of the Loud Hands Project. She writes about autistic identity, community, and language; disability rights; theory vs. praxis; and autism acceptance on her website, Just Stimming…
Recommended Autistic Voices making a thought-provoking and informative impact: a list compiled by The Autistic Advocate, Kieran Rose
Kieran is a Senior Advisor to the Therapist Neurodiversity Collective, Managing Director of Infinite Autism, and Chair of The Autistic Cooperative.
“The following is an inexhaustive list of Positive of practical Blogs by Autistic people aimed at both parents of Autistic children and newly diagnosed Autistic Adults that will offer insight and understanding to various aspects of being Autistic and also help frame Autism in a way that encourages acceptance from self and others.” – Kieran Rose
Specific Blog posts
Examples of positive support sites that showcase Autistic voices
Some books positive and proactive books written by pro-Neurodiverse positive people
Gender Identity, Sexuality and Autism: Voices from Across the Spectrum, Eva Mendes
Inclusive Education for Autistic Children: Helping Children and Young People to Learn and Flourish in the Classroom, Dr. Rebecca Wood
Facebook Pages We Follow
Therapist Neurodiversity Collective is a collective that believes that our therapy practices must contribute to a world in which autistic and other neurodivergent people have equitable equal access, rights, and opportunities. We advocate neurodiversity, self-determination, dignity, respect of individual rights, sensory preferences, and the power to say “no”. Every member pledges to provide culturally competent, trauma-sensitive, empathetic care.
We believe that it is critical for us to really listen to autistic and other neurodivergent people, to be mentored, and to conduct our therapy practices accordingly. In no particular order, these are some of the neurodivergent educators, advocates, and activists, we follow on Facebook:
Patient Rights – Self-Determination & Quality of Life
§482.13(b)(2) The patient or his or her representative (as allowed under State law) has the right to make informed decisions regarding his or her care. The patient’s rights include being informed of his or her health status, being involved in care planning and treatment, and being able to request or refuse treatment.Dec 2, 2011
The Patient Self-Determination Act. A matter of life and death.
Physician Assist. 1995 Mar;19(3):49, 53-6, 59-60 passim.
The Patient Self-Determination Act (PSDA) is a federal law, and compliance is mandatory. It is the purpose of this act to ensure that a patient’s right to self-determination in health care decisions be communicated and protected. Through advance directives–the living will and the durable power of attorney–the right to accept or reject medical or surgical treatment is available to adults while competent, so that in the event that such adults become incompetent to make decisions, they would more easily continue to control decisions affecting their health care. Without advance directives and the proper adherence to such directives, former President Richard Nixon and former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis might still be alive today, in persistent vegetative states. This article examines the history of the act, its importance to each individual, the clinical, ethical and legal issues, and the role of health care professionals in effectively implementing and ensuring compliance of the PSDA.
Law for Older Americans – Health Care Advance Directives. What is the Patient Self-Determination Act?
American Bar Association. (2013, March 18). Health Care Advance Directives. Americanbar.org. Retrieved January 15, 2019, from https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/patient_self_determination_act/
Neurodiversity, Quality of Life, and Autistic Adults: Shifting Research and Professional Focuses onto Real-Life Challenges
This article examines challenges to the quality of life experienced by autistic adults.1 The author, who is an autistic researcher, first shares how a neurodiversity perspective offers an important alternative to the deficit model of autism. Whereas the deficit model portrays autistic people as ill, broken, and in need of fixing, the neurodiversity perspective portrays it as a form of human diversity with associated strengths and difficulties. The article’s discussion then shifts to presenting Schalock’s (2000) quality of life framework as a neurodiversity-compatible lens through which domains of quality of life can be viewed. The article analyzes in detail these core domains in relation to the lives of autistic adults. The author suggests that a collaborative approach between professionals/researchers and autistic adults is needed to develop meaningful solutions to these challenges, and he presents possibilities for collaboration.
Robertson, S. M. (2010). Neurodiversity, quality of life, and autistic adults: Shifting research and professional focuses onto real-life challenges. Disability Studies Quarterly. Retrieved January 15, 2019, from https://dsq-sds.org/article/view/1069/1234