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neurodiversity affirming.
person-centered care.
culturally responsive.

Image by Kelly Sikkema

what it is and how we apply it.

neurodivergent affirming.

honoring that individuals have differences in their abilities and how they interact with the world around them.  these differences are what make us unique and are not considered "bad", deficits, or things to be "fixed". in contrast to the medical model, neurodiversity is a perspective that focuses on abilities and strengths of an individual, rather than disabilities, weaknesses, or deficits.

an individual or child is neurodivergent if they are diagnosed as/with (or identify as/with): autistic, ADHD, dyslexic, dysgraphia, sensory processing disorders, mental health conditions, or other neurological conditions.

here's how we practice neurodivergent therapy:

  • validate individual experiences while celebrating their differences. helping neurodivergent people accept and have pride in their differences 

  • considering neurodiversity within intake process, development of plan of care, goal setting, and implmenentation.

    • using therapeutic approaches such as play to support emotional regulation, social needs, sensory challenges

    • including all of the child's settings to ensure that goals are relevant to the child's life and can be carried out across contexts

    • formulating goals with meaningful outcomes that are relevant to a child's daily life and day

    • take into consideration a child's strengths and interests to support areas of need

  • creating treatment plans that do NOT promote the following:

    • "fixing" a child

    • compliance and behavioral modification through the use of rewards and/or negative consequences such as withholding attention, affection, or objects/items

    • accommodating caregiver expectations to "change" a child 


person centered care provides treatment and support through the lens that care is not a one size fits all approach or a treatment based on a therapists agenda.  it involves health care professionals valuing the patient's perceptions, needs, and preferences.

here's how we practice person-centered care:

  • listening to patient, trusting patient, and seeing them as unique and capable.  not seeing patient as a diagnosis/deficit

  • making patient feel valued and cared for

  • making decisions with the patient to formulate collaborative decisions 

  • involving and supporting caregivers but not accommodating caregivers

  • promoting self advocacy 

  • developing and preparing individuals for transition and coordinating care with outside providers and professionals

trauma informed.

promotes environments of healing and recovery rather than practices that may inadvertently re-traumatize.  research shows that when children don't experience safe and nurturing early attachments, they are likely to have more challenges with learning and are more likely to exhibit significant behavior problems and difficulty with social and emotional development.  in addition, stress in children's brains impact their ability to access their full cognitive capacity. 

what are some examples of adverse childhood experiences?  neglect, divorce, abuse.  learn more.


how has the pandemic inflicted trauma on children and their development?  learn more.


here's how we practice trauma informed care:

  • recognizing how trauma affects an individual by performing a detailed intake process with questions to better understand patient's background history

  • recognizing the signs of trauma

  • connecting with the individual to build a strong relationship; relationships are more important than tasks and will lead to greater effectiveness in therapy 

  • connect versus correct

  • allowing patient's to feel successful by providing them opportunities for positive experiences with praise and encouragement 

  • using positive language which avoids negative connotations and negative consequences

culturally responsive.

culture is defined as the learned, shared, and transmitted values, beliefs, norms, and lifeways of a particular group that guides their thinking, decisions, and actions in a patterned way (Leininger, 1991:5).  culturally responsive care values diversity, acknowledges cultural variables and how they influence interactions. it promotes self-awareness to acknowledge that people have different perspectives and can still have positive value.

here's how we practice culturally responsive care:

  • acknowledging the process of cultural competence. see model below which describes the four stages of learning.

  • cultural competence: adapting choice of therapy, communication style, expectations, based on the needs of a families individual culture understanding vs. acknowledging; we encourage our team to increase their understanding of other cultures by researching, asking questions, and consistently evolving and growing their own education of cultural differences.

  • understanding and responding to ethnic inequalities in access to healthcare services and how it's impact on therapeutic plans of care and outcomes

  • recognizing that lack of cultural responsiveness can lead to misdiagnosis. 

cultural competence model.png
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