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Neurodiversity-affirming speech therapy practices - What does that mean?

Updated: Jul 25, 2022

Neurodiversity & The Neurodiversity Movement

Neurodiversity is the idea that people experience, interact and participate with the world in various different ways. There isn't a "right way" of thinking, and/or behaving. Being respectful of Neurodiversity means viewing these as differences instead of deficits in our speech therapy practice.

Neurodiversity refers to the variation in the human brain regarding sociability, learning, and attention. It is a non-pathological term used to describe the different ways people present. Autistic individuals and individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) for example are referred to as neurodivergent individuals.

The neurodiversity movement is a human-rights movement. According to Harvard Health, it aims to increase acceptance and inclusion of all people while embracing neurological differences. On top of that, it aims to achieve self-determination, antinomy, end of discrimination, and equal opportunity.

The rainbow-coloured infinity symbol is the face of the neurodiversity movement. It represents the full spectrum of both Neurodivergent and neurotypical individuals.

The gold-coloured infinity symbol is used to represent autism acceptance. It was chosen by the autistic community as the chemical symbol for gold is "Au" which is coincidentally the first two letters of the word "autism"

Being respectful of neurodiversity is our main priority as clinicians when we consider approaches, techniques and strategies we use in our speech therapy practices.

Neurodiversity Affirming Speech Therapy Practices

Our speech therapists are on a journey to be better equipped and gain more knowledge around how we can be clinicians who support individuals in a non-judgemental way and promote inclusivity through the delivery of neurodiversity-affirming speech therapy services.

Our speech therapists acknowledges that the vast majority of the autistic community prefers the use of identity-first language ("an autistic individual") instead of person-first language ("an individual with autism") that us as clinicians have been taught to use since we were at university. Identity first language is our go-to however we always encourage families to let us know what their preferred language is.

Working towards the delivery of Neurodiversity affirming speech therapy services, in every possible way, our speech therapists are learning more about the following:

  • The Double Empathy Problem

  • Diversity in Social Intelligence

  • Autistic Masking

  • Camouflage Trauma

  • Monotropism

We will dive into each of these in the upcoming weeks.

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