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Shift Towards Understanding:
A Journey into Neurodiversity Support 


We would like to extend our gratitude to Sonny Jane Wise for their pioneering work in developing the Neurodiversity Affirming Practice principles. Their dedication and insight have been instrumental in shaping a more inclusive and supportive approach for neurodivergent individuals. We're so grateful for their innovative thinking and the positive impact it's had on our approach. Sonny Jane Wise, is a true trailblazer!

Beyond Compliance: Rethinking Neurodiversity Support 

As educators and service providers, we are often guided by established systems and models that dictate how we support and interact with neurodivergent individuals.

Well, it's time to ask ourselves if these approaches really meet the diverse needs of our students and clients. The compliance model, which tries to make everyone fit into the same box, might not always be the best way to go. Let's think outside the box and consider a new approach based on Neurodiversity Affirming Practice and Trauma-Informed Care. By changing how we think and act, we can create environments that are more supportive, empowering, and inclusive, celebrating the unique strengths and experiences of neurodivergent individuals.

Neurodiversity Affirming Practice Key Principles:

1. Intersectionality:

Recognize and honor all aspects of an individual's identity to avoid reinforcing barriers and discrimination.

2. Respecting Autonomy:

Acknowledge and respect an individual's right to control their own body and make decisions about their care

3. Presuming Competence

Approach individuals with the belief that they are capable of understanding, learning, and communicating, focusing on supporting them rather than assuming limitations.

4. Validating Differences

Embrace the diversity in how individuals function, avoiding labeling differences as deficits and instead recognizing the uniqueness of each person's experience.

5. Rejecting Neuronormativity

Challenge societal norms that prioritize certain ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving, making space for all forms of neurodivergent functioning.

6. Reframing Expectations:

Shift expectations to accommodate the diverse ways in which individuals develop, communicate, learn, and interact with the world

7/8. Promoting Self-Advocacy & Prioritizing Lived Experience

Empower individuals to advocate for themselves in all aspects of life, providing them with the tools and support to do so.  


Recognize individuals as the experts of their own experiences, learning from and respecting their perspectives.

9. Nurturing Positive Self-Identity

Combat societal narratives of abnormality by fostering a positive self-image and highlighting individual strengths.​

10. Adapting Systems & Environments

Identify and remove barriers in society to create an inclusive environment that supports neurodivergent individuals.

11. Honoring All Forms Of Communication

Recognize and respect the various ways individuals communicate, ensuring access to preferred methods of communications action.

Trauma-Informed Care Key Components:


Ensure physical and emotional safety to reduce the risk of re-traumatization


Establish trust through consistency and transparency 


Provide individuals with options and control over their service experiences.


Work collaboratively with individuals to develop effective support strategies.


Focus on strengths and empower individuals to build coping skills and resilience

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