Therapist Neurodiversity Collective Board Members and Therapy Advisory Chairs volunteer their time and energy to education and advocacy efforts with the goal of changing therapy practices to be empathetic and respectful. Therapists may join our FREE Facebook study group to learn more about our practices. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Every Member of the Therapist Neurodiversity Collective pledges to:
- Uphold and advocate for neurodiversity acceptance, self-determination, bodily autonomy, sensory preferences, and the power to say “no.”
- Commit to upholding the dignity, humanity, civil liberties, and human rights of all clients/students/patients, including non-speaking, intellectually disabled, all neurodivergent, especially marginalized neurodivergent populations, traumatically brain-injured, neurologically involved, and those with Mental Illness, Dementia, Alzheimer’s, or otherwise disabled.
- Presume competence in every client/student/patient.
- Provide access to AAC without prerequisites.
- Respect and uphold self-determination for quality of life decisions for all clients/students/patients.
- Support the client’s/student’s/patient’s needs first and foremost, including implementing the accommodations, modifications, and supports which work for them.
- Practice therapy models focused on building upon and expanding individual strengths.
- Advocate for client/student/patient equitable access to equitable access and inclusion.
- Teach self-advocacy skills.
- Abject refusal of all ABA methodologies or ABA-derived therapy practices or programs. Refuse collaboration with BCBAs and RBTs to implement ABA goals. (Compliance is never the goal).
- Not incorporate therapy goals or target therapeutic approaches that aim to mask autistic characteristics (e.g. changing behaviors such as stimming, forcing eye contact, targeting social skills goals to make autistic children or adolescents look “less autistic”).
- Accept behavior as a possible communicative attempt, while working diligently towards understanding the reason(s) for the behavior, rather than extinguishing or ignoring it
- Focus communication therapy on expanding the client’s/student’s/patient’s preferred manner of communication (e.g. verbal, AAC, aided language input, and balanced literacy instruction). Our stance is firm on Total Communication – incorporating all means of communication: i.e. AAC, sign, fingerspelling, natural gestures, body language, listening, lipreading, and speech.
- Respect for body autonomy. (e.g. Will not physically manipulate client, without client consent. Use hand underhand and only with client consent, and only when necessary. Will not force-feed.)
- Never withhold access to emotional comfort, physical comfort, food, drinks, favorite items, activities, personal belongings as a way to manipulate or control clients/students/patients.
- Commit to continued research/reading the personal experiences of a wide range of Autistic people and Neurodivergent people, including marginalized neurodivergent people.
- Commit to read the research and study humane best practices in my area of expertise, my provider setting, and my client/patient/student population: Pediatric, Adult, Geriatric.
- Strive for autistic children and adolescents in the therapy practice to have a strong support base of autistic peers and mentors.
- Refuse to collaborate with therapists, educators or medical personnel, and clinics, schools, or facilities that use restraints, seclusion, coercion, manipulation, planned ignoring, punishments or aversives.
- Advocate for self-determination and access to communication for every patient, client, and student in my care.
- Promote Human Rights, respect Civil Liberties, uphold Human Dignity; lead by my actions
The Therapist Neurodiversity Collective believes that Disability Rights are Civil Rights.
Read our position statement HERE.
© 2018, 2019, 2020 Therapist Neurodiversity Collective