Therapist Neurodiversity Collective


Therapist Neurodiversity Collective’s Neurodiversity-Affirming Educational Courses


Therapists: our Collective Members get access to the recordings and professional education certificates for all previous, current, and upcoming educational events. If you are a neurodiversity-affirming therapist, join the Collective here.

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An End to Ableism: Adopting Neurodiversity-Affirming and Strengths-Based Therapy Approaches with Pediatric Autistic Clients

August 3 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm CDT


An End to Ableism: Adopting Neurodiversity-Affirming and Strengths-Based Approaches with Pediatric Autistic Clients with Lisa Marnell, MBA, OTD

August 3, 2023, @4:00pm Pacific / @ 6:00 pm Central / @ 7:00 pm Eastern. 
Register: $15 USD

Topic: How to conduct neurodiversity-affirming assessments and write therapy goals for Autistic Children and Teens

Course Description: Traditional therapy views autistic traits as “deficits” and uses medical model strategies to “fix” kids, yet research highlights the negative effects of ableism in therapy, including mental health stressors and decreased quality of life. Neurodiversity-affirming practice calls for therapists to embrace the social model of disability, including the right for autistic children and teens to control their own lives and the importance of addressing societal barriers. In this webinar, ableism will be defined and suggestions to reframe ableist thinking, language, and documentation will be provided. Examples of unique autistic neurobiology will be related to the process of assessment and intervention. Furthermore, attendees will master practical and respectful approaches for evaluating autistic strengths and challenges and for developing neurodiversity-affirming goals and accommodations. 

The course includes the course slides, a handout, and a Certificate of Attendance.

Participants will learn how to

  • differentiate between ableist and neurodiversity-affirming therapy goals and explain the rationale for the classification.
  • reframe a client’s “deficit” as a strength and write a simple goal to use this identified strength to support the child’s meaningful occupation.
  • develop neurodiversity-affirming goals to increase an autistic child’s self-understanding and self-confidence in relation to their personal autistic traits, strengths, and/or interests.

Audience: This educational presentation is designed for therapy providers who serve autistic children and young people, parents of autistic children and young people, and other stakeholders.

Presenter Bio: Lisa Marnell, MBA, OTD a pediatric occupational therapist with over twenty years of experience. She completed her doctorate at Boston University and is now on the BU faculty working as a lecturer and mentor within the post-professional OTD program. The focus of Lisa’s OT work with clients includes cultivating emotional regulation through self-understanding and self-advocacy, supporting client insight into their own sensory processing, social preferences, and unique self-care needs, and collaborating with clients to embrace their passions and identify personally meaningful occupations. Lisa is the founder of Kids Master Skills LLC and is a member of the board of directors at the STAR Institute in Denver. Autistic herself, Lisa recently began a private practice in Thousand Oaks, California, where she provides neurodiversity-affirming and strengths-based OT support to autistic clients and their families. Lisa is an active autism advocate.

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