Neurodiversity is: "A concept where neurological differences are to be recognized and respected as any other human variation. These differences can include those labeled with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome, and others" (National Symposium on Neurodiversity, 2011). The neurodiversity movement calls for an understanding of neurological differences across individuals, and it advocates for the social acceptance of people with non-neurotypical diagnoses, experiences, and behaviors. This is a shift from a more traditional medical model of viewing neurological differences as pathology, and instead, it views neurology differences as natural variation within the human species (Jaarsma & Welin, 2012).
Based on a collaboration with members of the neurodiverse community in the Chicago area, this presentation will review the key elements of a neurodiverse approach to understanding client experience and share the perspectives of neurodiverse people who have received therapy and other services from helping professionals. Finally, this workshop will present concrete strategies that helping professionals can employ when working with neurodiverse clients as well as an opportunity for discussion of how these strategies apply to each attendee’s professional practice. Empirically supported literature and data will be presented where applicable and available, and audience questions and discussion will be welcomed throughout the workshop.
After attending this introductory-level workshop, participants will be able to:
(1) Explain how a perspective of neurodiversity differs from a more traditional view of mental illness, intellectual disabilities, and other neurological differences across individuals.
(2) Select ways in which a “client as expert” model can be used to make adaptations to the therapy environment that can empower clients and increase the impact of services.
(3) State several concrete strategies a helping professional can use in order to create an affirming environment for neurodiverse clients.
Professional Bio of Fawna Stockwell, PhD, BCBA-D, Director of Research and Practice at Upswing Advocates, Affiliate Faculty at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Fawna Stockwell, PhD, BCBA-D is the Founder and Director of Research and Programs at Upswing Advocates: a nonprofit organization that provides sliding scale coaching, groups, trainings, and research opportunities that focus on the LGBTQIA community. Over the past 10 years, Fawna’s research has focused on topics including polyamory, communication in relationships, gender, sexual behavior, BDSM, mindfulness, and effective skill-building strategies. They have a vision of using precise measurement and an individualized approach to connect people to affirming, accessible interventions that create meaningful change. Fawna is also an Affiliate Faculty member at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and is a member of the Board of Directors at Howard Brown Health.
Professional Bio of Worner Leland, MS, BCBA, Director of Development and Promotion at Upswing Advocates, Adjunct Faculty at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Worner Leland, MS, BCBA is the Director of Development and Promotion at Upswing Advocates: a nonprofit organization that provides sliding scale coaching, groups, trainings, and research opportunities that focus on the LGBTQIA community. For the past two years, Worner has also served as a sex educator with a focus on expanding affirming sexual education, consent education, and education on sexuality and data collection. Their research has focused on intimacy-related behaviors in the queer community, and they value centering affirmation of all identities and relationship styles in intimacy-related research. Worner is also an Adjunct Faculty member at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and is President of the Association for Behavior Analysis International Sexual Behavior Research and Practice Special Interest Group.
Registration and Fees:
(1) Armstrong, T. (2015). The myth of the normal brain: Embracing neurodiversity. AMA Journal of Ethics, 17(4), 348.
(2) Write Where It Hurts. (2017, August 2). Invalid measures invalidate us: Ciscentrism and ableism in the trans autism literature [Web log comment]. Retrieved from https://www.writewhereithurts.net/invalid-measures-invalidate-us-ciscentrism-and-ableism-in-the-trans-autism-literature/
(3) Jaarsma, P., & Welin, S. (2012). Autism as a natural human variation: Reflections on the claims of the neurodiversity movement. Health Care Analysis, 20(1), 20-30.
(4) Mackenzie, R., & Watts, J. (2011). Is our legal, health care and social support infrastructure neurodiverse enough? How far are the aims of the neurodiversity movement fulfilled for those diagnosed with cognitive disability and learning disability? Tizard Learning Disability Review, 16(1), 30-37.
(5) Schrader, S., Jones, N., & Shattell, M. (2013). Mad pride: Reflections on sociopolitical identity and mental diversity in the context of culturally competent psychiatric care. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 34(1), 62-64.