Neurodiversity affirming

One of the core values of TalkingCow speech therapy is Neurodiversity Affirming. So, what is Neurodiversity affirming? Let’s talk about it in this blog.

What is Neurodiversity?

In simple terms, it refers to every individual’s brain is different, and that people experience and interact with the world around them in different ways, and, that there is no one right way of thinking, doing, or learning things. In a nutshell neurodiverse tout that differences are not defects. They’re just, quite simply, differences.

What is Neurodiversity affirming?

Judy Singer, an Australian Sociologist first coined the term “neurodiversity” in her social honors thesis (1996-1998) and term further popularized in 1998 issue of The Atlantic, stating, “Neurodiversity may be every bit as crucial for humans as biodiversity is for life in general.

Neurodiversity affirming embraces natural neurological (brain) differences and rejects the idea that people needs fixing. It views any resulting disability as rooted in societal barriers, and not as individual deficits. Instead of focusing on fixing the child or individual, the approach focuses on fixing the environment or removing the barriers.

Neurodiversity constitutes 2 groups of people:

Neurotypical group: They exhibit behaviors, thoughts, and feelings typical to their age and gender.

Neurodivergent group: They exhibit behaviours, thoughts, and feelings outside the typical range for their age.

What is Neurodiversity affirming therapy?

Neurodiversity affirming therapy is client-centered and child-led. Neurodiversity affirming therapy recognizes that every child is unique and has different strengths. Rather than working on them to appear neurotypical, the therapy focuses on strengths-based approach that help the child build confidence and lead to a more positive sense of self and healthy self-esteem.

The strategy is to let the child take the lead and understand his areas of interest that they find stimulating and gradually use that interest as a means to engage with the child and help them add more connections. When the child is comfortable, add in something more but don’t pressure the child to join the conversation. Let them be exposed to words, conversations, and songs, without forced social interaction. This is how early language skills can be taught in a non-stressful way, acknowledging, and aligning with the autistic brain. The ongoing relationship and engagement will foster communication.