Working with Neurodivergent Adults

Working with Neurodivergent Adults

Delivering Affirming and Effective Therapy Using a Functional Contextual Approach

CE Hours available

In recent years, clinicians have seen an explosion in Autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnoses. 

This is due in large part to an increased understanding of neurodivergent presentations in previously under-represented groups, including women and BIPOC communities, and a heightened awareness among the general population.

Alongside these shifts, we’ve seen a gradual reduction in stigma attached to these diagnoses as well as flourishing self-advocacy and social justice movements.

But many neurodivergent individuals still face profound struggles as they navigate a world that is, in many ways, not built for them. 

Among other challenges, they experience higher rates of sleep problems, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, psychiatric hospitalization, and completed suicide than their neurotypical peers. 

And, while we’re learning more about neurodivergence every day, clinical training has largely not caught up. 

Many clinicians recognize that the medical model they’ve been trained in is pathologizing and not always useful, but they don’t have tools for adapting their approach to neuro-minorities in a way that is both affirming and effective.

As a result, their typical methods can leave them at a standstill with clients. Clinicians may feel like they’re on different pages with the individuals they’re treating, or that their go-to interventions just aren’t landing. 

It can also be a struggle to distinguish between behaviors that warrant attention in therapy and behaviors that reflect neurodivergent needs and culture. 

These struggles are little wonder, since treating Autistic individuals and ADHDers often focuses on making clients fit into the world around them, assuming a narrow definition of success that can needlessly pathologize differences. 

What clinicians need instead is a better understanding of neurodiversity that will help clients build a life that works best for them based on self-compassion, self-acceptance, and pride in their identity.

Working with Neurodivergent Adults centers around a functional contextual approach that will broaden your definition of what human thriving can look like and help you tailor interventions to each unique individual.

Inside the course, you’ll learn about neurobiological differences and neurodivergent culture. The trainers will explore how to support neurodivergent clients, and provide practical strategies to improve the efficacy of your therapeutic approach by accommodating different communication styles and sensory processing differences. By applying functional analysis you’ll appreciate the impact of social and neurobiological context for your clients’ behavior and the challenges they face as a result. You will be able to better discern clinically relevant behaviors that require intervention from neuro-normative expectations.

All of this will give you the ability to approach neurodivergent clients in a more affirming and flexible way, with more sensitivity to their needs and how to meet them in therapy, as well as a clear idea of how to teach skills that will support their long-term success.

Inside the course

Working with Neurodivergent Adults teaches an affirming functional contextual approach to helping neurodivergent clients move toward their values and thrive.

In 4 sessions, Jennifer Kemp and Dr. Drew Carr will cover the fundamentals of neurodiversity-affirming practice, including the use of affirming language, the social model of disability, the “double-empathy problem,” intersectionality, and minority stress. 

With the expanded form of functional analysis you’ll practice in the course, you’ll learn how to identify and address the underlying function of behaviors related to neurodivergence that often challenge clinicians, such as compulsions associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder, body-focused repetitive behaviors like skin-picking and hair-pulling, urge-based behaviors such as bingeing, purging, and self-harm, and chronic suicidal ideation. 

The perspective and insight you’ll gain in the course will allow you to:

  • Adapt your current approach to be more affirming and effective, including through language, communication style, and improved sensitivity to clients’ unique needs
  • Get traction with clients who are considered complex and treatment-resistant by adapting your approach to better suit their needs 
  • Promote clients’ skills in self-regulation, self-compassion, and self-acceptance
  • Help clients to unmask, build safe relationships, alleviate neurodivergent burnout, and advocate for their needs

Throughout the training, you’ll engage with varied examples and receive handouts, checklists, and practice guides to help you bring new tools and insight into your work.

Everything you’ll learn can be used to underpin evidence-based approaches including schema therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

This training offers 8 CE hours if attended live. We can only provide CE to those who are present via Zoom for the live sessions. However, the sessions will be recorded and available to watch later. Registrants may access these recordings at any time for up to nine months after the live training ends.

Before enrolling, please review conflict-of-interest disclosures and complete CE information here.

Session 1: October 19, 2023, 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. EDT
Setting up the program & learning environment
Theoretical foundations
How neurodivergent people process information differently

Session 2: October 26, 2023, 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. EDT
Understanding neurodivergence beyond the DSM
Using Best-Practice Neurodiversity-Affirming Language
Priorities for effective and affirming therapeutic interventions

Session 3: November 2, 2023, 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. EDT
Understanding neurodivergence from a functional contextual behavioral perspective
Understanding context for neurodivergent people
Understanding neurodivergent behavior in context
Using functional analysis as a guiding principle for effective interventions

Session 4: November 9, 2023, 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. EDT
Exploring the functions of specific neurodivergent behavior in context
Transforming unhelpful behaviours by building the foundational skills needed for mental health
Helping clients alleviate burnout
Helping clients build a world that works better for them
Building pride in neurodivergent identity
Adapting your practice to be neurodiversity-affirming

Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the principles of neurodiversity-affirming practice including the social model of disability, double empathy problem, and use of best-practice, affirming language, and how to use this to improve the accessibility and outcomes for neurodivergent people in therapy
  2. Describe neurodivergence beyond the limits of DSM pathology-based criteria 
  3. Adapt case conceptualizations to include the interaction of neurodivergence with contextual factors including minority stress and discrimination, and how this leads to higher rates of trauma, severe mental illness, misdiagnosis, poorer lifetime treatment outcomes, and higher rates of completed suicide
  4. Utilize ongoing functional analysis to distinguish between ‘disordered’ behavior and important neurodivergent needs and preferences
  5. Discuss how to apply functional analysis and compassion-focused strategies to target neurodivergent burnout, sensory sensitivities, masking, inertia, meltdowns, shutdowns, isolation, and sensitivity to rejection
  6. Discuss how to deliver therapeutic interventions that help neurodivergent clients to create a world that works better for them, built upon self-advocacy, self-compassion, self-acceptance, and pride in identity

Please review complete CE and conflict-of-interest disclosure information prior to registering. This live online course is sponsored by Praxis Continuing Education and Training and is approved for 8 CE Hours by the following listed below. There was no commercial support for this activity. None of the planners or presenters for this educational activity have relevant financial relationship(s) to disclose with ineligible companies whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.

Praxis CET maintains responsibility for the program with the CE approvals outlined below:

Joint Accreditation: In support of improving patient care, Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

IPCE: This activity was planned by and for the healthcare team, and learners will receive 8 Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credit for learning and change.

Nursing: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc designates this activity for a maximum of 8 ANCC contact hours.

Physicians: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc designates this live activity for a maximum of 8 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Psychologists: Continuing Education (CE) credits for psychologists are provided through the co-sponsorship of the American Psychological Association (APA) Office of Continuing Education in Psychology (CEP). The APA CEP Office maintains responsibly for the content of the programs.

Social Workers: As a Jointly Accredited Organization, Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved under this program. Regulatory boards are the final authority on courses accepted for continuing education credit. Social workers completing this course receive 8 clinical continuing education credits.

Drug and Alcohol Counselors: This course has been approved by Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for 8 CE hours. NAADAC Provider #165310, Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc, is responsible for all aspects of its programming.

National Counselors: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6759. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

Behavior Analysts: Praxis CET is an approved BACB ACE Provider # OP-17-2718.

NY Social Workers: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0467

NY Counselors: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors. #MHC-0198.

NY Psychologists: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0002.

NOTE: Many state boards accept offerings accredited by national or other state organizations. If your state is not listed, please check with your professional licensing board to determine whether the accreditations listed are accepted.

Professionals of all experience levels who are delivering psychological therapy, including psychologists, BCBAs, counselors, social workers, and more

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We understand, sometimes things come up!

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