As Speech Language Pathologists (SLP), we address communication differences all day, every day. We strive to empower children and adults of all ages and backgrounds to be the most efficient and effective communicators they can be!
In recent years, the term neurodiverse and neurodivergent have gained momentum here in the United States, focusing on brain differences rather than on deficits. Neurodivergent is not a medical term. Instead, it is a way to describe people using words other than "normal" and "abnormal". That is important to recognize and acknowledge because there is no single definition of "normal" for how the human brain works.
Judy Singer, an autistic sociologist, started using the term neurodiversity in the late 1990s. Neurodiversity refers to the concept that certain developmental disorders are normal variations in the brain. The term neurodivergent describes people whose brain differences affect how their brain works which means they have different strengths and challenges from people whose brains don't have those differences. The possible differences include medical disorders, learning disabilities, and other conditions. We, as SLPs, find those strengths and utilize them to support the challenges out neurodivergent clients face daily. At Speech and Language Services of Marin-Sonoma (SLS), we provide neurodiverse-affirming therapy and education to help support parents, caregivers, educators, and others involved in the neurodivergent client's daily life.
What is neurodiverse-affirming therapy and what does it look like? The fundamental valuses of neurodiversity-affirming therapy at SLS include acceptance, respect, empathy, empowerment, advocacy, and autonomy. At SLS, we believe in and provide evidence-based and strength-based services which includes 3 equally valued components: quality research evidence, clinical expertise, and experience, and client/family perspectives and expertise.
The speech language pathologists at SLS are constantly learning. We won't always be perfect, but we are listening!