Working with Neurodivergent Adults

Working with Neurodivergent Adults

A Functional Contextual Approach to Affirmative and Effective Treatment

CE Hours available

The rate of autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnoses has exploded in recent years in adolescents and adults, largely due to a better understanding of autism and ADHD presentations in previously under-represented groups including adolescent and adult women and BIPOC communities. With this has come a gradual reduction in the stigma attached to these diagnoses in the public and a flourishing self-advocacy and social justice movement.

This change creates new challenges for mental health professionals, many of whom have little training in working with neurodivergent clients in affirming ways. Neurodivergent adolescents and adults have higher rates of sleep problems, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, psychiatric hospitalization, and completed suicide than non-neurodivergent peers. As a result, large numbers of diagnosed and undiagnosed neurodivergent adolescents and adults are presenting in therapy, often having accumulated several misdiagnoses before their neurodivergence is identified. Clinicians and researchers need new skills in how to work in an effective and affirming way with this neuro-minority.

Contextual behavioral science has much to offer members of the burgeoning neurodivergent community, including the ability to re-examine what was previously defined as ‘disordered.’ Functional analysis can improve the clinician’s sensitivity to differences that are accepted and celebrated within the neurodivergent community and help guide the individual towards their values. Building skills in self-compassion and self-acceptance offers a pathway to alleviating suffering for neurodivergent people in the long-term.

This workshop will focus on the needs of older adolescents and adults. The workshop will offer a clear and concise overview of the fundamentals of neurodiversity-affirming practice including the use of affirming language, social model of disability, ‘double empathy problem,’ intersectionality, and minority stress. Participants will explore how neurodivergence can present in therapeutic settings when clients are masking their differences, the impact this can have on mental health, and what to do when a client presents in neurodivergent burnout. 

Participants will learn how to identify the functions of ‘clinical’ behaviors that are related to neurodivergence. This will include challenging behaviors for clinicians to manage in clinical practice, such as compulsions occurring within obsessive-compulsive disorder, body-focused repetitive behaviors such as skin-picking and hair-pulling, urge-based behaviors such as bingeing, purging, and self-harm, and chronic suicidal ideation. Treatment approaches will center on creating change by building skills in self-soothing, self-regulation, self-compassion, self-acceptance, and pride in identity. 

Participants will leave the program with a nuanced approach that will enhance their effectiveness in therapeutic practice and further develop their ability to improve the wellbeing, self-compassion, and self-acceptance of neurodivergent clients. Handouts, checklists, and practice guides will support the implementation of new skills.

This training is worth 8 CE credit hours if attended live. While we can only provide CE to those who are present – i.e. logged in – for live presentation(s), all Praxis webinars are recorded for later viewing. Registrants may then access these recordings at any time for up to nine months from the conclusion of the training to which they pertain.

Prior to registering, please review speaker-planner conflict of interest disclosures and complete CE information.

Session 1: October 19, 2023, 6 pm-8 pm EDT
Setting up the program & learning environment
Theoretical foundations
How neurodivergent people process information differently

Session 2: October 26, 2023, 6 pm-8 pm 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 pm-8 pm 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 pm-8 pm EST
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.

All levels of mental health professionals

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We understand, sometimes things come up!

Praxis will offer a full refund to registrants of both live and live-online trainings who cancel their registration up to 14 days before the course or workshop start date, minus an administrative processing fee of $30 for a 2-day workshop or online course, and a $50 fee for a 4-day workshop. If cancelled within 14 days, no refund will be issued, however, a credit for the same amount will be applied toward another learning product, which expires within 1 year. Please contact us at to cancel a registration.