Title

Perspectives About Neurodiversity-Affirming Practices

Poster Number

19C

Lead Author Major

Speech-Language Pathology

Lead Author Status

Senior

Format

Poster Presentation (Research Day, April 30)

Faculty Mentor Name

Madhu Sundarrajan, PhD, CCC-SLP

Faculty Mentor Department

Speech-Language Pathology

Abstract/Artist Statement

Over the past few years, the neurodiversity movement has become more prominent, with many neurodivergent individuals sharing their lived experiences. Neurodiversity is the concept that recognizes the natural variance within human brains, how they work, and how they interact with their environment (Singer, 1998). This approach to understanding neurology contextualizes the various pathologized conditions (e.g., Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyslexia, etc.) and views them along a spectrum of normal brain existence, recognizing that there is no one right type of brain. Neurodiversity-affirming refers to the mindset that respects these differences without pathologizing them or their behavior based on neurotypical standards, validating and supporting the individual’s autonomy and lived experiences. The neurodiversity movement has made a tremendous impact on clinical practices within the field of speech-language pathology.

This project aimed to understand current clinical practices and philosophies regarding neurodiversity-affirming practices across health and education professionals (such as speech- language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and teachers) serving neurodivergent individuals. Participants responded to a comprehensive anonymous survey exploring their understanding and application of asset- and deficit-based practices through quantitative and qualitative questions about their teaching techniques, reinforcement strategies, and philosophies. Common themes within the survey responses were identified to better understand commonalities within the myriad of perspectives and look for any correlations between the various demographic factors of the clinicians.

Results from this study indicated emerging knowledge and skills of neurodiversity-affirming practices among clinicians, however, a large percentage (46%) remain uninformed. A high percentage of participants (58%) demonstrated a disparity between their self-perception and displayed knowledge and application of neurodiversity-affirming practices. Information from this study provides insights into the current practices of clinicians serving neurodivergent individuals and highlights the areas of needed training at the individual, institutional, and literature levels with regards to neurodiversity-affirming practices.

Location

Information Commons, William Knox Holt Memorial Library and Learning Center

Start Date

30-4-2022 1:00 PM

End Date

30-5-2022 3:00 PM

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Apr 30th, 1:00 PM May 30th, 3:00 PM

Perspectives About Neurodiversity-Affirming Practices

Information Commons, William Knox Holt Memorial Library and Learning Center

Over the past few years, the neurodiversity movement has become more prominent, with many neurodivergent individuals sharing their lived experiences. Neurodiversity is the concept that recognizes the natural variance within human brains, how they work, and how they interact with their environment (Singer, 1998). This approach to understanding neurology contextualizes the various pathologized conditions (e.g., Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyslexia, etc.) and views them along a spectrum of normal brain existence, recognizing that there is no one right type of brain. Neurodiversity-affirming refers to the mindset that respects these differences without pathologizing them or their behavior based on neurotypical standards, validating and supporting the individual’s autonomy and lived experiences. The neurodiversity movement has made a tremendous impact on clinical practices within the field of speech-language pathology.

This project aimed to understand current clinical practices and philosophies regarding neurodiversity-affirming practices across health and education professionals (such as speech- language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and teachers) serving neurodivergent individuals. Participants responded to a comprehensive anonymous survey exploring their understanding and application of asset- and deficit-based practices through quantitative and qualitative questions about their teaching techniques, reinforcement strategies, and philosophies. Common themes within the survey responses were identified to better understand commonalities within the myriad of perspectives and look for any correlations between the various demographic factors of the clinicians.

Results from this study indicated emerging knowledge and skills of neurodiversity-affirming practices among clinicians, however, a large percentage (46%) remain uninformed. A high percentage of participants (58%) demonstrated a disparity between their self-perception and displayed knowledge and application of neurodiversity-affirming practices. Information from this study provides insights into the current practices of clinicians serving neurodivergent individuals and highlights the areas of needed training at the individual, institutional, and literature levels with regards to neurodiversity-affirming practices.