Visit the Neurodivergent Therapist directory here: www.ndtherapists.com
Neurodiversity refers to natural variation in human brain development and functioning. Specifically, there are often differences in our ability to learn, sustain attention, regulate our mood, and engage in social communication with others. Neurodivergent individuals can have significant differences that impact how they interact with the world. For example, a neurodivergent person may have heightened sensory experiences that make it hard to be in large crowds or loud spaces. This can create unique challenges for them, as many spaces have been created for neurotypical people who do not face these same differences.
Neurodivergent individuals are sometimes diagnosed with specific conditions, including autism, ADHD, and/or other diagnoses. A diagnosis is not required to identify as neurodivergent, as the neurodiversity paradigm is a non-pathologizing way of viewing brain development and functioning. In addition, there are often many challenges that prevent folks from obtaining a diagnostic assessment, especially as an adult. Many adults are undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, and/or are unaware of being neurodivergent due to limited research and supports for neurodivergent people.
Due to limited research and supports, there has been a history of providers attempting to make neurodivergent people change their behaviors to fit neurotypical standards. Many traditional therapy approaches do not respect these differences and can encourage ableist views. This has caused significant harm to those in the community and has made it harder for neurodivergent people to seek mental health supports. In response to these challenges, neurodivergent folks began advocating for acceptance of their neurological differences. This fight for acceptance is called the “neurodiversity movement,” which has roots in the disability rights movement.
In an effort to increase safe supports for neurodivergent folks, I developed a directory of neurodivergent therapists who align their practice within the neurodiversity paradigm. Many of the therapists listed in this directory self-identify as neurodivergent based on their lived experience and/or professional diagnoses. Therapists listed in this directory offer a variety of mental health services for neurodivergent folks across the US and internationally. In addition, there is also a growing resource list available on the directory that includes a variety of neurodivergent supports. As someone who is Autistic myself, I understand that it is important to increase supportive and accepting spaces for other neurodivergent folks.
*We use identity-first language (“Autistic person”) when referring to neurodivergent people, as many neurodivergent people have expressed that they prefer identity-first language over person-first language (“person with autism”). Historically, providers have been taught to use person-first language in education settings. There is a large disconnect between how providers and self-advocates feel about this topic, which can lead to many misunderstandings. Due to the overwhelming majority of people within self-advocacy spaces using identity-first language, we use identity-first language to respect their preferences. However, one should always ask a person what their preference is to ensure they are being respectful of that person’s identity and preferences with language.*