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AIBU?

That Neurodiversity is becoming an issue

360 replies

mamainlove · 25/09/2022 21:05

Sorry about the thread title:

I have been umming and arrring posting this thread. I'm not able to be speak about this with family/friends (due to lack of knowledge about the area) and some colleagues, as I may seem like a monster if I shared my views.

But I currently work as a speech and language therapist for NHS. The Neurdiversity trend has really changed our practice which I feel may be detrimental to our young people with ASD.

To point out. The support for neurodiverse peopje is minuscule. Children with ASD receive the least amount of provision and if you have a co-morbid conditions, even less so as it's about changing the environment and not about specialist interventions.

Currently, my team are scrapping some of the "typical" interventions that children with ASD usually receive. The idea behind this is that we shouldn't be using interventions that follow a neurotypical path.. for example, if a child with ASD likes to stim with cars, we shouldn't change this (agree) but we shouldn't model and try to teach the children functional play skills, imaginative play, turn taking, "social skills", conversations as that is neurotypical expectations.

I am happy that there is an awareness of neurodiversity but I'm worried that there's a harm in reducing services for children with ASD. A little bit frustrated with the team as it appears that we all have to conform and it's making me reconsider my career choice.

I'm not sure how I could go around this or is the problem with me?

OP posts:
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Bobbybobbins · 25/09/2022 22:26

I totally see what you mean OP and it would be good for services to be based holistically on the child's need rather than blanket use of one mode or the other. SALTs should be able to develop a programme based on the individual's need.

For example, my DS8 is somewhat verbal, does some imaginative play and is interested in communication. For him, using strategies to develop these skills as well as encourage his verbal stims work well. My DS6 is non verbal and for him using intensive interaction etc work well, though pecs has also been successful.

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CliffordDanger · 25/09/2022 22:26

I'm an AHP and I don't understand what you mean when you keep saying "the neurodiversity trend." What does this mean? I'd expect clearer language from a SALT colleague tbh.

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notnownorma · 25/09/2022 22:26

Awayyego · 25/09/2022 21:34

That is exactly the point. Why should someone with autism have to learn to fit in? Why can’t those who don’t have autism learn to be more accepting of difference?
You are asking the person with supposedly “impaired communication” to change their communication to make the person with supposedly “unimpaired communication “ feel better, without expecting the person with the supposedly better communication to change at all.

No, you aren't. Teaching skills to the ND child goes hand in hand with teaching communication skills to the NT. Compromise. It's how all education happens, otherwise we would never bother to teach reading, writing or any skill that doesn't arise naturally (most don't). Society is a thing that exists and we do the ND no favours to pretend it doesn't. We ALL have to learn to fit in. We need different approaches according to our existing skill sets.
Obviously it has to be carefully tailored to avoid unnecessary anxiety, stress and failure and to be appropriate for the individual child. But ducking out of it altogether - that's failing ND children.

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5zeds · 25/09/2022 22:27

@mamainlove I wonder if you’d think the same about any other device/intervention. I mean are deaf children better off with a few signs if there’s no resource to teach them lots?

For anyone with an iPhone there’s an app called Keezy that gives you 8 recordable buttons. Free.

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mamainlove · 25/09/2022 22:27

CliffordDanger · 25/09/2022 22:26

I'm an AHP and I don't understand what you mean when you keep saying "the neurodiversity trend." What does this mean? I'd expect clearer language from a SALT colleague tbh.

Well thank God there is now diversity within our field to not put up with comments like this.

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notnownorma · 25/09/2022 22:28

Bobbybobbins · 25/09/2022 22:26

I totally see what you mean OP and it would be good for services to be based holistically on the child's need rather than blanket use of one mode or the other. SALTs should be able to develop a programme based on the individual's need.

For example, my DS8 is somewhat verbal, does some imaginative play and is interested in communication. For him, using strategies to develop these skills as well as encourage his verbal stims work well. My DS6 is non verbal and for him using intensive interaction etc work well, though pecs has also been successful.

Exactly. One size never fits all.

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AloysiusBear · 25/09/2022 22:29

I don't think it should be about forcing kids to fit into NT norms.

But there are some skills which simply fundamental to being able to live safely as an independent adult and i would hope this children will still access opportuniyities where these skills are modeled, even if they appear to be uninterested.

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LiveInSunshine · 25/09/2022 22:32

Zedcarz · 25/09/2022 22:23

The parents understandtheir own profile. Theyve lived with themselves all their lives and will have also learned a great deal about it through learning about their kids and recognising similar traits , triggers etc.
They may not recognise themselves in the language you use in a professional setting but they are the expert on themselves and their children.
They come to you for your expertise in provision.
If you are not researching or trained in new improved approaches then you're doing the families a disservice, yourself and your colleagues a disservice.
Everything we know changes all the time.
The world is changing.
Knowledge is changing.
Research is funded in order to make a difference in any field. to ignore that research because youve always done it this way is foolish and will leave you behind.

YES

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Bentoforthehorde · 25/09/2022 22:32

I think it's short sighted to have a one size fits all approach to anything which has as wide a scope as ASD.

The world accepting us all for who we are is an admirable goal, but life is very rarely that fair. For most of us it is about how comfortable our lives are, but for those who don't have the ability to safely live their lives it's about survival.

Forcing people to conform for the sake of it is one thing, equipping a person with the tools necessary to safeguard themselves in daily life is another.

We're not just talking about children who will become adults that have to navigate work and friendships, but also children who may never be capable of safeguarding themselves or living independently. The approach to both ends can't be the same.

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Zedcarz · 25/09/2022 22:34

CliffordDanger · 25/09/2022 22:26

I'm an AHP and I don't understand what you mean when you keep saying "the neurodiversity trend." What does this mean? I'd expect clearer language from a SALT colleague tbh.

I'm hearing a lot recently from health, mental health, education and local authority staff about this 'trend' or bandwagon andseen a frw posts on here stating similar.

Its obviously become trend for a large vocal group of experts to negate and disrespect people's experiences and to disrespect the diagnostic skills of their (often) so called superior colleagues.

The post upthread from the slt mentioning this small minority of vocal autistic people leads me to wonder if the professionals who once were the only experts are now feeling slightly discombobulated by vocal autistic people getting in their niche and trying to effect positive change that isnt all about modification?
🤔

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SheldontheWonderSchlong · 25/09/2022 22:34

amijustparanoidorjuststoned · 25/09/2022 22:17

You lost me at the use of the term "trend" when it comes to neurodiversity.

Perhaps you should reconsider your career choices.

Quite. Anyone who uses the term "neurodiversity trend" raises an instant red flag in my mind. Such a loaded (and frankly insulting) thing to say.

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Jewel7 · 25/09/2022 22:35

Every child is different. My child has asd. But is perfectly fine to use imaginative play at home in her room alone. She may be better with board games with a slt. Imaginative play wouldn’t work in a speech therapy session.However I can’t fault the slt that assessed her for asd some of what they found out was a eye opener for me in terms of phrases that she couldn’t understand.

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CliffordDanger · 25/09/2022 22:37

mamainlove · 25/09/2022 22:27

Well thank God there is now diversity within our field to not put up with comments like this.

What, asking for a definition of the terms of a discussion? Lack of clarity doesn't help my autistic brain and I do expect colleagues to be clear. And they expect it of me. I'm always happy to expand on what i mean so people understand my thought process. Why on earth wouldn't I get frustrated with a colleague who uses cloudy language and won't clarify? It doesn't help anyone and it wastes everyone's time.

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5zeds · 25/09/2022 22:37

I think many people are worried by very articulate and verbal autistics speaking for less articulate or non verbal autistics and the spread of resources across the community.

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Shtfday · 25/09/2022 22:39

@Twizbe
I cant work out what is so bad about walls that NT would be so unable to cope if someone touches a wall.

If the child touched the wall in public who does this actually impact?

Im deaf and lots of deaf children are given targets on their plans such as lostening and wearing listening devices for 90% of the day. It is crazy to give these targets. Its setring children up to fail rather than create a supportive enviroment where information is accesible.

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Tumbleweed101 · 25/09/2022 22:40

How would we make the world suitable for neurodivergent people? Society is set up for the way the majority of people are capable of interacting and communicating with one another. How can we support people who may have a really wide range of communicating or ability to do so in every day life?

Teaching someone to communicate in their own way is fine, but not if the rest of the world still have no idea how to communicate with that individual. Why does it fall to neurotypical people to change their way of communicating to communicate with someone who is neurodivergent? it's still one side of the two having to change for the benefit of the other.

Whether they like it or not, a minority group have to understand a majority group in some way. Many neurotypical people have interests and obsessions that they would love to pursue on a daily basis and ignore the rest of the world. Why can't a neurotypical child have the chance to indulge their interests in the way allowed to neurodivergent?

Children on both sides are being let down. Balance is needed as always. Help a child using their interests, but also push their comfort zone so they can fit into society. Everybody masks to some extent, that is being part of a society that has expectations of you against what you desire to do.

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mamainlove · 25/09/2022 22:41

5zeds · 25/09/2022 22:27

@mamainlove I wonder if you’d think the same about any other device/intervention. I mean are deaf children better off with a few signs if there’s no resource to teach them lots?

For anyone with an iPhone there’s an app called Keezy that gives you 8 recordable buttons. Free.

I don't quite understand and your missing the point.

The use of devices requires a lot of training, training to the school and the parents and the team, as well as adapting, changing and modifying the device. If you have a very clued up parent, that's great but the above means that the students needs more SLT.

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Iamnotthe1 · 25/09/2022 22:42

Is an element of this just a hidden excuse for reducing funding and support?

Let's say that, currently, the majority of support available to children with ASD is focused on interacting in a NT environment (rightly or wrongly). Removing that as a "target" by stating that it's ableist to offer a child with ASD an intervention with that focus could be used to argue that no/few interventions are needed.

Coupling this with the statement that children with ASD cannot and should not be expected to reach the same developmental goals as NT children, a narrative could be created that a lot of the specified support in things like EHCPs is actually not required and the targets are wrong.

Following that thread through to it's conclusion, I could see Local Authorities making the argument that, if the child with ASD does not need to meet the sorts of targets set in EHCPs then some of the justifications for the EHCP (variance from peers, specific support needed, involvement from external agencies, etc.) will no longer be seen as valid because they could say that the child is: "fine as they are". Heck, the eventual end of the line conclusion could be: "It's ableist to ask children with ASD to attend mainstream schools."

This sounds to me that this is a move to reduce funded support for children with ASD hidden under the guise of equality and inclusivity.

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NoYouSirName · 25/09/2022 22:42

Please don’t take this the wrong way.

But there are children with ASD who have high support needs, are not able to function at all, have no communication, who are either in prison or in institutions. My worry is mainly for these groups of children/adults not adults with ASD who can relatively function in society and have adequate communication skills to function day to day.


To be fair, you don’t know what my support needs are, or day time day functioning, those are assumptions on your part based on the fact that I can type a message and express myself here.

I spent a large proportion of my young adult life in ‘institutions’.

However, I do know that there are some autistic people with concurrent learning difficulties. Of course there are. My point still stands. Encouraging masking isn’t helpful for them either, it never could be. It’s all the more important to encourage acceptance of different ways of communicating, when someone is completely non verbal and has no voice to express what they need, surely?

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SheldontheWonderSchlong · 25/09/2022 22:43

Tumbleweed101 · 25/09/2022 22:40

How would we make the world suitable for neurodivergent people? Society is set up for the way the majority of people are capable of interacting and communicating with one another. How can we support people who may have a really wide range of communicating or ability to do so in every day life?

Teaching someone to communicate in their own way is fine, but not if the rest of the world still have no idea how to communicate with that individual. Why does it fall to neurotypical people to change their way of communicating to communicate with someone who is neurodivergent? it's still one side of the two having to change for the benefit of the other.

Whether they like it or not, a minority group have to understand a majority group in some way. Many neurotypical people have interests and obsessions that they would love to pursue on a daily basis and ignore the rest of the world. Why can't a neurotypical child have the chance to indulge their interests in the way allowed to neurodivergent?

Children on both sides are being let down. Balance is needed as always. Help a child using their interests, but also push their comfort zone so they can fit into society. Everybody masks to some extent, that is being part of a society that has expectations of you against what you desire to do.

Wait - are you saying it's not fair that ND children (sometimes) have different expectations placed on them than NT children??

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Onceuponatimethen · 25/09/2022 22:43

Some of what you say sounds good - I don’t think there is any point aiming to teach imaginative play to dc like my dc who have very HFA but will never play imaginatively. And in my view that’s fine - we need to be less impairment focus and value not belittle any different skills.

But I do have real concerns about the friendship stuff and there I agree with you. My dc honestly very weak in this at 3-6 but now has friends after years and years of SALT and support at home. Friendship makes them so happy which they say themselves. So risky to extrapolate lifelong preference not to socialise from youthful difficulty with the social rules.

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FamSender · 25/09/2022 22:43

It is interesting to me that this is such a battle.

SLTs trying to make sure they are giving the right support to all the autistic children and families they work with, based on current research and feedback.

Autistic adults.and parents of autistic children trying to make sure the right intervention is delivered to autistix individuals.

Aren't you all pulling in the same direction?

Yes, vocabulary used might not be 100% perfect all the time, but isn't it better to focus togehther on what will work that pick apart the language of the debate?

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Airymanning · 25/09/2022 22:44

ofwarren · 25/09/2022 21:21

This
It sounds like the changes are going in the right direction to me.

I also agree.

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Onceuponatimethen · 25/09/2022 22:45

We don’t encourage masking - we say to dc all the time if you want to chill on your own at break time that’s always fine. But dc was lonely and said so themselves. At least even if social skills still very weak after years of support they have friends.

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mamainlove · 25/09/2022 22:45

5zeds · 25/09/2022 22:37

I think many people are worried by very articulate and verbal autistics speaking for less articulate or non verbal autistics and the spread of resources across the community.

Yes. This is precisely my concern.

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