Working with Neurodivergent Adults: A Series

Working with Neurodivergent Adults: A Series

Effective and Affirming Therapy for Autistic Individuals and ADHDers

up to 16
CE Hours available

This is a two-part training series. Join both courses for the full experience, a discounted rate, and in-depth instruction across Autism and ADHD. Or select the training most relevant to your practice. 

See the Schedule section below for dates specific to each course.

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Recent years have brought increased public understanding of neurodiversity, a gradual decrease in stigma related to neurodivergence, and flourishing social justice movements. 

This has led in part to an explosion of diagnoses — particularly among those whose presentations were previously misunderstood, including women and BIPOC communities.

Despite these positive shifts, many neurodivergent adults still face profound struggles as they navigate a world that was not built for them. 

And clinical training has lagged behind research, leaving many clinicians without tools to adapt their approaches effectively for neuro-minorities. 

In this two-part training series, you’ll learn how to deliver therapeutic interventions that better meet the needs of neurodivergent adults — whether they have recently discovered their neurodivergence or received diagnoses as children.

The trainers will explore neurobiological differences and neurodivergent culture. They’ll also provide practical strategies for accommodating differences in communication style and information processing. 

Using a functional contextual lens, you will learn how to identify and address the underlying function of behaviors related to neurodivergence that often challenge clinicians. This includes 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 suicidal ideation. 

The insight and tools you’ll gain in either or both courses 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

Learn about each part of the series below. Join both for comprehensive instruction across Autism and ADHD and a discounted rate, or select the training most targeted to your practice.

Building Self-Compassion and Self-Acceptance in Autistic Adolescents and Adults: From Chronic Burnout to Living a Valued Life (Jennifer Kemp)

Autistic individuals experience higher rates of bullying, trauma, rejection, marginalization, and repeated negative feedback.

Many live in chronic Autistic burnout, a state of deep exhaustion and overwhelm that emerges from trying to achieve normative standards in a society that does not accommodate sensory, social, and information processing differences. 

Recent research has established Autistic burnout as a multi-systemic experience separate from mental health disorders. But it is not yet well understood and is frequently misdiagnosed. 

Autistic adolescents and adults need strategies to alleviate current distress, prevent future burnout, and avoid its harmful effects on mental and physical health, relationships, employment, study, and home life. 

Living as a neurodivergent individual in a society that does not accept or accommodate your needs leads to powerful feelings of failure, shame, inadequacy, and internalized stigma.

Not surprisingly, Autistic adults also have lower levels of self-compassion and often experience relentless self-criticism (Beaton, Sirios, & Milne, 2020 & 2022; Cai & Brown, 2021; Howes, Richards & Galvin, 2021). 

Autistic people experience significantly worsened physical and mental health, higher rates of self-harm and completed suicide, and shorter life spans.

Greater self-compassion is associated with improved mental health and well-being, and a greater ability to regulate emotions (Cai, Gibbs, et al. 2022, Willoughby and Evans 2019). Compassion-focused approaches offer the potential to increase self-acceptance and improve quality of life.

However, therapy must be based on an understanding of social and neurobiological contexts, be tailored to meet the needs of Autistic people, and address the key barrier they face to living a fulfilling life. 

This highly interactive and experiential workshop will provide a practical foundation for understanding neurodiversity-affirming practice and an understanding of Autistic differences beyond the DSM. 

The workshop will apply principles of compassion-focused therapy (CFT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) within a novel, integrated treatment framework that builds well-being on a foundation of self-compassionate action. 

Over 8 hours of interactive and experiential activities, participants will explore practical strategies to build greater self-compassion and cultivate self-acceptance while helping clients alleviate and prevent burnout.

Participants will learn how to identify Autism in previously unidentified clients, help these clients understand their strengths and difficulties, then teach essential skills in how to regulate their emotions, attention, and level of activation, unmask in safe relationships, overcome sensitivity to rejection, harness Autistic strengths to get things done, and advocate for their needs — moving them towards greater self-acceptance and pride in their neurodivergent identity.

Working with ADHDers in Context (Drew Carr)

ADHDers are diverse, and their therapy shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all.

By understanding the unique experiences of individuals with ADHD, you can foster productive therapeutic relationships based on empathy and emotional connection.

The course aims to help you build that understanding through contextual behavioral science while remaining connected to shared human experiences.

This involves delving into adult ADHDers’ various presentations as well as challenges and strengths across neurobiological, neurocognitive, and sociocultural contexts. In other words, this workshop will situate them and their unique challenges in larger biopsychosocial context.

Participants will also learn to use person-centered clinical behavior analysis (CBA) to provide individualized interventions that build psychological flexibility and executive functioning.

CBA provides tailored interventions to understand specific behaviors and their triggers. Given the arcane nature of CBA language, this approach will be taught using language that fosters connection rather than reinforcing ontological divides and can create a more inclusive and understanding environment.

Experiential components will help you gain a firm grasp of the concept. These may include using media, engaging in role-play exercises, and employing various strategies to immerse participants in the lived experiences of ADHDers.

This hands-on approach can help participants develop a felt sense of what it’s like to have ADHD and understand the interactions of those frameworks and their consequences on ADHDer functioning.

Additionally, this course will be highly skills-oriented. Therapist will have many opportunities to practice the skills discussed so they can more easily integrate them into their current work.

This training series offers up to 16 CE hours if both parts are attended live (or 8 CE hours for each separate part). 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 registering, please review conflict of interest disclosures and complete CE information here.

Session 1 | October 2, 2024, 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. EDT

Setting up the program & learning environment

  • Introduction & personal story
  • Experiential exercise – preconceived ideas and biases
  • Overview of program and structure of each session
  • The importance of self-reflection & self-care
  • Setting your intention

Theoretical foundations (in brief)

  • What is neurodiversity
  • What is neurodivergence
  • Types of neurodivergence
  • Genetic links in neurodivergence
  • Medical model of neurodivergence
  • The social model of disability

Using Best-Practice Neurodiversity-Affirming Language

  • Diversity vs disorder
  • Identity-first language
  • Functioning labels
  • Avoiding ableism

Understanding Autism beyond the DSM: 

  • Neurobiological differences form a critical context for behavior in Autistic people
  • Exploration of the information processing differences in Autism
    • Focus on interests: Monotropism
    • Sensory processing & interoception
    • Emotion processing
    • Regulating through the senses
    • Use of language
    • Social norms & expectations
    • Executive functioning difficulties as part of the overlap with ADHD
  • Understanding AuDHD
  • Challenges and strengths associated with AuDHD
  • Discussion and activities throughout

Session 2 | October 9, 2024, 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. EDT

Understanding social contexts for Autistic people

  • External contexts including discrimination, marginalization, and stigma
  • Intersectionality including gender & sexuality 
  • Chronic health problems
  • Experience of trauma
  • Impact on life span

Understanding Autistic behavior in context

  • Autistic burnout is the result striving to achieve unrealistic neurotypical expectations in an environment that does not accommodate your needs

Exploring the outcomes for Autistic people: 

  • Meltdowns & shutdowns
  • Rejection sensitivity, people pleasing, & poor boundaries
  • Masking, camouflaging, & isolation
  • Discussion & experiential activities throughout
  • Handouts provided on specific topics

Affirming approaches to mental health treatment with Autistic people

  • Identifying Autistic behaviors that have a soothing/regulating function when defining the targets for mental health interventions
  • Re-examining what has been considered ‘disordered’ behavior in Autistic people, including skin-picking, hair-pulling, self-harm, compulsions, repetitive behaviors, suicidal ideation and more
  • OCD vs Autism
  • Addressing potential unconscious bias in psychological therapy

Session 3 | October 16, 2024, 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. EDT

Orienting therapy to the priorities for Autistic well-being 

Introducing a comprehensive framework for effective and affirming therapy for Autistic people. Exploring the following over the remainder of the program, with skills practice, cases, vignettes, small and larger group discussion throughout. Overview of the key elements of the framework provided as follows:

  1. Raising the possibility of Autism with your client
  2. Identifying and alleviating neurodivergent burnout
  3. Building emotional and interoceptive awareness
  4. Developing intentional self-soothing and self-regulation strategies
  5. Building safe relationships & unmasking
  6. Supporting executive functioning and supports (in brief)
  7. Self-advocacy and asking for help
  8. Building self-compassion, self-acceptance, and pride in neurodivergent identity

Identifying and alleviating Autistic burnout

  • What is Autistic burnout
  • How is it different to mental health problems
  • Long-term recovery requires every element of the framework to be addressed
  • Discussion and activities

Raising the possibility of Autism with your clients

  • Using an ACT-oriented approach to raise the possibility of Autism with your clients, and explore what this might mean
  • Discussion of barriers
  • Practice activity in groups of 2-3

Building safe relationships & unmasking

  • You can only unmask in safe relationships
  • Didactic learning, discussion, and activities

Self-advocacy and asking for help

  • Maintaining boundaries & learning to say no (activity)
  • Didactic learning, discussion, and activities

Session 4 | October 23, 2024, 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. EDT

Building emotional and interoceptive awareness

  • Didactic learning, discussion, and activities

Developing intentional self-soothing and self-regulation strategies

  • Didactic learning, discussion, and activities

Building self-compassion, self-acceptance, and pride in neurodivergent identity

  • Understanding Autistic culture & sense of identity

Adapting your practice to be neurodiversity-affirming

  • Delivering treatment using an affirming approach
  • Adapting your approach to meet the individual’s social, emotional, and sensory information processing differences and communication style
  • Scaffolding executive functioning to support the process of therapy
  • Considering sensory needs in the therapy room (lighting etc.)
  • Discussion, vignettes, small and larger group discussion 
  • Conducting an audit of your practice – homework task

Working with ADHDers in Context

Session 1 | November 6, 2024, 5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. EDT

  • Introduction to collaborative ADHDer to work
  • Understanding ADHD in context

Session 2 | November 13, 2024, 5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. EST

  • Conducting assessment using CBA to create a individualized, positive treatment plan
  • CBA Skills Practice

Session 3 | November 20, 2024, 5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. EST

  • How to make psychotherapy ADHD friendly
  • ADHDer therapy skills practice

Session 4 | December 4, 2024, 5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. EST

  • How to build executive skills in ADHDers
  • Integration of All skills

Building Self-Compassion and Self-Acceptance in Autistic Adolescents and Adults
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 use this to improve the accessibility and outcomes for Autistic clients.
  2. Describe Autism beyond the limits of deficit-based DSM criteria, identify this in previously undiagnosed clients, and raise the possibility of Autism in an affirming and supportive way.
  3. Develop a case conceptualization that considers the interaction between Autism and contextual factors including social expectations, minority stress, marginalization, and discrimination, and how this contributes to higher rates of trauma, mental illness, chronic physical health problems, greater disability, and poorer outcomes from psychological therapy.
  4. Implement skills with clients to help them alleviate and prevent Autistic burnout through the application of self-compassionate action.
  5. Discuss how to help clients navigate sensory sensitivities, social disconnection, meltdowns, shutdowns, inertia, masking, and sensitivity to rejection.
  6. Name wholistic therapeutic interventions that help Autistic people create a world that works better for them, built upon self-advocacy, self-compassion, self-acceptance, and pride in their Autistic identity.

Working with ADHDers in Context
Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe ADHD in context of social, biological and evolutionary terms
  2. Demonstrate skills associated with collaborative stance as an ADHDer therapist
  3. Utilize clinical behavior analysis to provide individualized intervention for ADHDers
  4. Identify two ways to make psychotherapy more ADHD friendly using ACT and CBS based interventions
  5. Build executive functioning skills in ADHDers match types of intervention (social/cultural, neurocognitive, psychotherapy) to client presentation problems based on positive approaches

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 up to 16 CE Hours by the boards 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.

Each course is approved for 8 CE hours. 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.

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.

Therapists, mental health professionals, psychologists, mental health occupational therapists, and social workers of all levels

Building Self-Compassion and Self-Acceptance in Autistic Adolescents and Adults
Cai, R. Y., Gibbs, V., Love, A., Robinson, A., Fung, L., & Brown, L. (2023). “Self-compassion changed my life”: The self-compassion experiences of autistic and non-autistic adults and its relationship with mental health and psychological wellbeing. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 53(3), 1066-1081.
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-022-05668-y2)

Kapp, S. K., Steward, R., Crane, L., Elliott, D., Elphick, C., Pellicano, E., & Russell, G. (2019). ‘People should be allowed to do what they like’: Autistic adults’ views and experiences of stimming. Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, 23(7), 1782-1792. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361319829628

rnold, S. R. C., Higgins, J. M., Weise, J., Desai, A., Pellicano, E., & Trollor, J. N. (2023). Confirming the nature of autistic burnout. Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, OnlineFirst. https://doi.org/10.1177/13623613221147410

Botha, M., Dibb, B., & Frost, D. M. (2022). ‘It’s being a part of a grand tradition, a grand counter-culture which involves communities’: A qualitative investigation of autistic community connectedness. Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, 26(8), 2151-2164. https://doi.org/10.1177/13623613221080248

Buckle, K. L., Leadbitter, K., Poliakoff, E., & Gowen, E. (2021). “No way out except from external intervention”: First-hand accounts of autistic inertia. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 1-17. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.631596

Cazalis, F., Reyes, E., Leduc, S., & Gourion, D. (2022). Evidence that nine autistic women out of ten have been victims of sexual violence. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 16, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2022.852203

Cooper, R., Cooper, K., Russell, A. J., & Smith, L. G. E. (2021). “I’m proud to be a little bit different”: The effects of autistic individuals’ perceptions of autism and autism social identity on their collective self-esteem. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 51(2), 704-714. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-020-04575-4

Crompton, C. J., Sharp, M., Axbey, H., Fletcher-Watson, S., Flynn, E. G., & Ropar, D. (2020). Neurotype-matching, but not being autistic, influences self and observer ratings of interpersonal rapport. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.586171

Fuld, S. (2018). Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Impact of Stressful and Traumatic Life Events and Implications for Clinical Practice. Clin Soc Work J, 46(3), 210-219. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10615-018-0649-6

Higgins, J. M., Arnold, S. R. C., Weise, J., Pellicano, E., & Trollor, J. N. (2021). Defining autistic burnout through experts by lived experience: Grounded Delphi method investigating #AutisticBurnout. Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, 25(8), 2356-2369. https://doi.org/10.1177/13623613211019858

Jellett, R., & Flower, R. L. (2024). How can psychologists meet the needs of autistic adults? Autism, 28(2), 520-522. https://doi.org/10.1177/13623613221147346

Radulski, E. M. (2022). Conceptualising autistic masking, camouflaging, and neurotypical privilege: Towards a minority group model of neurodiversity. Human Development, 66(2), 113-127. https://doi.org/10.1159/000524122

Raymaker, D. M., Teo, A. R., Steckler, N. A., Lentz, B., Scharer, M., Delos Santos, A., Kapp, S. K., Hunter, M., Joyce, A., & Nicolaidis, C. (2020). “Having all of your internal resources exhausted beyond measure and being left with no clean-up crew”: Defining autistic burnout. Autism in Adulthood, 2(2), 132-143. https://doi.org/10.1089/aut.2019.0079

Working with ADHDers in Context
Beaton, D.M., Sirios, F., & Milne, E. 2022. The role of self-compassion in the mental health of adults with ADHD. Journal of Clinical Psychology: 1-16.

Sandoz, E. K., Gould, E. R., & DuFrene, T. (2022). Ongoing, explicit, and direct functional assessment is a necessary component of ACT as behavior analysis: A response to Tarbox et al. (2020). Behavior Analysis in Practice, 15(1), 33-42

Nakashima, M., Inada, N., Tanigawa, Y., Yamashita, M., Maeda, E., Kouguchi, M., … & Kuroki, T. (2022). Efficacy of Group Cognitive Behavior Therapy Targeting Time Management for Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Japan: A Randomized Control Pilot Trial. Journal of Attention Disorders, 26(3), 377-390.

Mette, C. (2023). Time Perception in Adult ADHD: Findings from a Decade—A Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(4), 3098.

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 email us at online@praxiscet.com to cancel a registration.