Therapists who serve neurodivergent populations need to apply a strategic approach when using developmental or relationship-based therapy models. Even therapy frameworks we incorporate into our practices, are used in combination with ABA methodologies and employ “normalization” goals based on neurotypical clinical outcomes, which is completely unacceptable to us. 

Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) is the integration of:

  • clinical expertise/expert opinion; 
  • external scientific evidence; and
  • client/patient/caregiver perspectives.”

Therapist Neurodiversity Collective on Evidence-Based Practices:
We take the research framework from developmental and relationship-based therapy models, use our knowledge of client and caregiver perspectives (no goals for masking, eye contact, whole body listening, appearing neurotypical, etc.), and apply our clinical background to implement therapy practices which are respectful, culturally competent, trauma-sensitive and empathetic.

We presume competence. We believe that AAC has no prerequisites. We respect sensory differences. We respect body autonomy.

Most importantly, we continually learn from our neurodivergent mentors as to what therapy approaches and methodologies are respectful and uphold human rights and self-determination.

ABA Therapy Approaches the Therapist Neurodiversity Collective Does not Use or Recommend:

  • ABA – all forms; including “new and improved” ABA
  • Play-based ABA
  • ABA + relationship-based therapy (ABA in conjunction with DIRFloortime, SCERTS, Hanen)
  • Verbal Behavior (VB)
  • The Lovaas Approach
  • Pivot Response Treatment (PRT)
  • Natural Language Paradigm (NLP)
  • Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)
  • Discrete Trial Training (DTT)
  • Incidental Teaching
  • Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI)
  • Intensive Behavioral Intervention (IBI)
  • ABA Derived Errorless Learning Therapy Models
  • Intensive Behavioral Intervention (IBI)
  • Positive Behavior Support (PBS)
  • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
  • Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)
  • The PEERS® Program
Therapy resources we recommend without reservation:

Autism Level Up! 
Free research-driven, person-focused supports.

Therapy frameworks/models we recommend with caveat – Evidence-Based Relationship-based and Developmental Therapy Models:

HanenTherapist Neurodiversity Collective supports some aspects of this therapy program without the use of applied behavior analysis methodologies.
The website does not use identity-first language. Some aspects of Hanen are focused on neurotypical (normalization) clinical outcomes, such as eye contact.

DIRFloortimTherapist Neurodiversity Collective supports some aspects of the DIRFloortime® therapy model without the use of applied behavior analysis methodologies.
Notes: The website does not use identity-first language consistently. The DIRFloortime® website states:
“Because ICDL advocates for parent choice, we typically do not advocate against access to ABA. Nevertheless, we are open about our concerns with ABA and the ABA industry. Many people ask us if we support “blended” models that integrate behavioral and developmental approaches. There is no simple answer to this because there are countless variations out there. Some much better and some much worse than others. We believe that a DIR program with Floortime as a core intervention in the context of a comprehensive DIR program is very effective. But, in regards to blended models, we have found that models that are DIR-based, or in other words based in a developmental relationship-based perspective, that integrate in behavioral techniques are generally much better than behavioral approaches that attempt to integrate in developmental relationship-based techniques.” “ICDL supports all beneficial autism-related services and advocates for parent and client choice. Our intent is not to debunk ABA, but we also recognize the limitations of behavioral approaches and know that there is much more we can do.” 

SCERTS®  Therapist Neurodiversity Collective supports some aspects of this therapy model without the use of applied behavior analysis methodologies.
The website does not use identity-first language. The SCERTS® website states:
“One of the most unique qualities of SCERTS is that it can incorporate practices from other approaches including contemporary ABA (e.g., Pivotal Response Treatment, LEAP), TEACCH, Floortime, RDI, Hanen, and Social Stories®.”  

© 2018, 2019, 2020 Therapist Neurodiversity Collective