Therapist Neurodiversity Collective is a neurodiversity-affirming international therapy, education, and advocacy collaborative for SLPs, OTs, PTs, and Assistants.

The Collective’s focus is to align therapy practices within the neurodiversity paradigm. This organization advocates for unapologetically ABA-free, non-compliance/behavioral-based therapy, the ceasing of social skills training because of the harm and trauma caused by masking and camouflage, and respectful practices that include honoring body autonomy and respecting a participant’s “no” or refusal. Therapist Neurodiversity Collective’s Conceptual Practice Framework for Social Communication is based on contemporary research including The Double Empathy Problem, Diversity in Social Intelligence, and Autistic Masking and Camouflage.

Therapist members are credentialed and licensed pro-neurodiversity-focused, trauma-informed providers who choose to be wholly aligned with the Neurodiversity Movement as a Human Rights Movement. Therapist Neurodiversity Collective recommends that therapy practices do not seek to “normalize” neurodivergent people at the expense of their emotional, physical, and psychological well-being. In co-production with clients, students, and their families, the Collective’s therapy model focuses on empowering neurodivergent people with increased abilities for communicating personal agency, autonomy, self-advocacy, and self-determination, as well as achieving personal goals.

Therapist Neurodiversity Collective advocates for radical changes in therapy practices to reflect presuming competence in the people therapists serve, championing human rights and dignity of the disabled, and respecting authentic neurodivergent communication, and sensory differences. Therapist Neurodiversity Collective actively partners with other Autistic, other-neurodivergent, and disabled people to provide updates in contemporary research, free educational resources to the public, and neurodiversity-affirming educational training opportunities for therapists that reflect neurodiversity-affirming ethics and core values.

Julie Roberts, M.S., CCC-SLP is a late-diagnosed Autistic speech-language pathologist who has been practicing for over 20 years. On January 11, 2018, Julie founded Therapist Neurodiversity Collective to support her vision to serve Autistic and other Neurodivergent people and their families by advocating for an industry-wide sea change in therapy provider services centering on Neurodiversity-Affirming Practices, Neurodivergent, and Autistic Social Justice and Human Rights.

Julie’s work focuses on professional, and public education about empathetic evidence-based therapy alternatives to ABA and behavioral therapy models that are non-trauma inducing, and respectful of neurodivergent social communication differences, social justice, human rights, and autistic sensory preferences. Throughout her career, she has served in various healthcare settings with 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.

Julie is a frequent speaker, trainer, and writer about Neurodiversity and Autism, Autistic Masking, and the harms of Social Skills Training, Disability Rights, and empathetic therapy practices. 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 passionate and tireless client rights advocate and activist.

Publications:
Discourse Processes, A Multidisciplinary Journal, Volume 30, Number 3 – “Repetition in Narratives of African Americans: The Effects of Aphasia” – Hanna K. Ulatowska, Gloria Streit Olness, CaSaundra L. Hill, Julie A. Roberts, and Molly W. Keebler

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”

Articles:
Roberts, Julie, “Neurodiversity-Affirming Therapy: Positions, Therapy Goals, and Best Practices”, Therapist Neurodiversity Collective, April 4, 2022
https://therapistndc.org/neurodiversity-affirming-therapy/

Roberts, Julie, “Neurodiversity and Autism Intervention (ABA) can’t be reconciled.”, Therapist Neurodiversity Collective, November 5, 2021
https://therapistndc.org/neurodiversity-and-autism-intervention-aba-cant-be-reconciled/

Roberts, Julie, “Performative Neurodiversity – the appropriation and watering down of a Human Rights Movement for profit”, Therapist Neurodiversity Collective, October 2, 1021
https://therapistndc.org/performative-neurodiversity-the-appropriation-and-watering-down-of-a-human-rights-movement-for-profit/

Roberts, Julie, “So an SLP was late-diagnosed as Autistic this week…”, Therapist Neurodiversity Collective, June 17, 2021
https://therapistndc.org/so-an-slp-was-late-diagnosed-as-autistic-this-week/

Roberts, Julie, “Nothing about Social Skills Training is Neurodivergence-Affirming – Absolutely nothing.”, Therapist Neurodiversity Collective, May 27, 2021
https://therapistndc.org/nothing-about-social-skills-training-is-neurodivergence-affirming/

Roberts, Julie, “Why We Model Language and Honor All Communication, instead of Using PECS®”, Therapist Neurodiversity Collective, January 13, 2021
https://therapistndc.org/why-we-model-language-instead-of-using-pecs/

Roberts, Julie, “On Writing Masking Goals for Middle School Girls – Stop it!”, Therapist Neurodiversity Collective, August 13, 2020
https://therapistndc.org/masking-goals-autistic-middle-school-girls/

Roberts, Julie, “FINDING THE RIGHT SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST (SLP) FOR YOUR AUTISTIC CHILD”, Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, May 14, 2020
https://thinkingautismguide.com/2020/05/finding-right-speech-language.html

Roberts, Julie, “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
https://therapistndc.org/why-teach-perspective-taking-neurodiversity-acceptance/

Roberts, Julie, “The Problem with PECS®”, Therapist Neurodiversity Collective, February 4, 2020
https://therapistndc.org/the-problem-with-pecs/

Roberts, Julie, “Training Social Skills is Dehumanizing (Part 1)”, Therapist Neurodiversity Collective, January 11, 2020
https://therapistndc.org/training-social-skills-is-dehumanizing-part-1/

Roberts, Julie, “Why We Model Language and Honor All Communication, instead of Using PECS®”, Therapist Neurodiversity Collective, January 13, 2021
https://therapistndc.org/why-we-model-language-instead-of-using-pecs/

Roberts, Julie, “A Letter from an SLP to a Parent, Immediately After an Autism Diagnosis for a 5-Year-Old”, Therapist Neurodiversity Collective, November 15, 2019
https://therapistndc.org/a-letter-from-an-slp-to-a-parent-immediately-after-an-autism-diagnosis-for-a-5-year-old/

Roberts, Julie, “An ASHA Certified SLP’s Personal Perspective on Collaboration, Interprofessional Practice and ABA”, Therapist Neurodiversity Collective, November 10, 2019
https://therapistndc.org/an-asha-certified-slps-personal-perspective-on-collaboration-interprofessional-practice-and-aba/

Links:
Speaking Engagements

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Bayou City Speech & Language