Neurodiversity is often referred to as “invisible disabilities.” This term umbrellas Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Tourette's Syndrome, Dyslexia, and many others. An estimated 15% to 20% of the world’s population falls into this category. That is a decent percentage of people. Despite that, we are still trying to change the idea of brains falling into 2 categories: “typical” or “disordered.” The world is still far more friendly to a typical brain. Some countries put the rate of unemployment of neurodivergent individuals as high as 78%.
We do not treat neurodiversity itself but recognize the impact it may have on things that we do help our clients with. As affirming therapists, we understand that these aren’t conditions that need to be cured. Many people consider it to be a key part of their identity. But when it comes to helping out clients, it’s important to recognize that these brains work differently. While we focus on a person’s struggles with anxiety, depression, executive disfunction and other issues, trying to fit into a neurotypical world when your mind doesn’t work that way can add to the problem. The way a neurodivergent mind sees situations and interactions can also be a cause of more stress. We use our knowledge of Autism, ADHD, and other differences to help our clients face their issues.
We find it important to note here that ABA is not used in our therapy. Applied behavioral analysis therapy (ABA) started as a way to fit neurodiverse individuals, especially autistic individuals, into the neurotypical world. Many think it’s used to change behaviors that some consider “undesirable” instead of teaching skills. It's designed to ignore the needs of the children being subjected to it. We instead use other approaches such as client-focused therapy. Such techniques encouraged a partnership between the therapist and the client. You are the expert on your lived experiences with your brain. You know where you want to go and how you want to change. We want to help you to get there.
Unsure if you’re neurodivergent? We can help!
If you think some of your problems may stem from being undiagnosed or misdiagnosis, we can provide you with additional information and sources. A good starting point might be our other post: ADHD, Autism, or Both? How to recognize the differences.
Cherry, Kendra. “How Client-Centered Therapy Works.” Verywell Mind, 13 July 2021, https://www.verywellmind.com/client-centered-therapy-2795999.
Lynch, C.L. “Invisible Abuse: Aba and the Things Only Autistic People Can See.” NeuroClastic, 13 Aug. 2021, https://neuroclastic.com/invisible-abuse-aba-and-the-things-only-autistic-people-can-see/.
Moeller, Miriam et al. “Neurodiversity Can Be a Workplace Strength, If We Make Room for It.” The Conversation, 8 Sep. 2021, https://theconversation.com/neurodiversity-can-be-a-workplace-strength-if-we-make-room-for-it-164859.
Tayler Clark, MSW, LCSW, Founder of Nova MHS.
Tayler works along side Marissa to make sure that the information provided reflects the practice and our values as well as provides accurate and up to date information. Tayler also acts as a general editor for the blog.