Why the Therapist Neurodiversity Collective includes patients with acquired neurological conditions in our platform.

The Therapist Neurodiversity Collective includes patients with acquired neurological conditions such as traumatic brain injury, post-stroke cognitive and communication deficits, or patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome in the category of acquired neurodivergence.  We do not conflate either clinical neurodivergent populations such as Autism or ADHD, or applied neurodivergent populations such as dyslexia with acquired neurodiversity populations.

Clinical/applied neurodivergent clients and acquired neurodivergence patients have different therapy needs and are supported by different therapy models. As the founding members of this Collective conduct continuing in-depth studies of the self-determination and self-advocacy violations that ABA present, and as we see more and more self-serving published research pushing the use of ABA into adult and geriatric settings such as skilled nursing homes, traumatic brain injury units, rehab hospitals, and outpatient clinics, we include these patients with acquired neurodivergence in our platform for both logical and empathetic reasons.

Therapists treat acquired neurodivergence (TBI, post-stroke, brain bleed, etc.) as a medical condition. An acquired neurological condition requires prescribed rehabilitative therapy.

A clinical or applied neurodivergence is a neurological difference in a non-pathological sense. A brain injury has the potential to heal or worsen if health deteriorates, whereas clinical neurodivergence such as Autism, ADHD, or applied neurodiversity, such as dyslexia is a perfectly natural state, is not curable, and has no need to be cured.

How one chooses to identify as “neurodivergent” may not be the same as how a therapist treats neurodivergence, depending on the client or patient: For brain injuries, such as TBI, post-CVA, brain bleed, etc. we therapists treat with a medical/rehabilitative model. For clients presenting with neurological differences, we support with a social model.

Our therapists commit to upholding the dignity of all patients with acquired neurological conditions (acquired neurodivergence).  Therapist Neurodiversity respects and upholds self-determination for quality of life decisions, and our therapists do not withhold access to emotional comfort, physical comfort, food, drinks, favorite items, activities, or personal belongings as a way to manipulate or control.

We pledge to promote human rights and uphold civil liberties including self-determined quality of life decisions. We lead with our actions.

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, OTs, PTs, 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.

Read more about how ABA is used in therapy for traumatically brain-injured service members:
TBI in Service Members – Real-life effects & the need for Empathetic, Compassionate & Trauma-informed Care

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)