top of page

Embracing Diversity: Empowering Neurodivergent Gender Diverse Individuals throughNeurodiversity Affirming Care



In today's world, discussions on gender and neurodiversity are gaining traction as we strive for inclusivity, acceptance, and genuine understanding. It's important to acknowledge the intersectionality of these identities and the unique hurdles faced by those navigating both gender diversity and neurodivergence. By embracing neurodiversity-affirming practices, individuals can be met where they are at, ensuring they are able to access the care the deserve and have the right to, without barriers.


Gender affirmation is not a one-size-fits-all concept; it encompasses a varied range of actions and choices that allow individuals to live authentically as their true selves. For transgender individuals, the path to gender affirmation is deeply personal, influenced by factors such as safety, accessibility, and personal affirmations. It's a journey marked by self-discovery, resilience, and the pursuit of authenticity. Neurodiversity, the concept that neurological differences are natural and should be celebrated, intersects with gender diversity in profound ways. While existing literature often focuses on gender diversity and Autism, anecdotal evidence suggests a diverse range of neurodivergent profiles within the gender diverse community. This intersectionality underscores the importance of providing affirming care that addresses both gender identity and neurodivergence.


Neurodivergent individuals may face unique communication, learning, processing, and/or sensory differences that require understanding and support. As they navigate their gender journey, these differences can impact their engagement and participation. This is where neurodiversity affirming care becomes essential. Speech therapists, health professionals, and allies equipped with knowledge and empathy, can play a crucial role in supporting neurodivergent trans individuals.

Neurodiversity-affirming practice is an approach that recognises and celebrates neurological diversity, emphasising that neurological differences, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and others, are natural variations of the human brain rather than disorders that need to be fixed or cured. This perspective promotes acceptance, accommodation, and support for individuals with neurodevelopmental differences, aiming to create inclusive environments that value and embrace diverse ways of thinking, learning, and experiencing the world.


The concept of neurodiversity was popularised by Australian sociologist Judy Singer in the late 1990s. However, it gained significant traction through the work of autistic self-advocates and disability rights activists like Jim Sinclair and Donna Williams, among others. These individuals emphasised the importance of recognising and respecting the strengths and challenges associated with neurodivergent conditions, advocating for societal changes to accommodate and include neurodiverse individuals rather than pathologies or stigmatise them.

By embracing neurodiversity affirming practices, speech therapists and other health professionals alike, can provide tailored support that addresses the individual needs of neurodivergent trans clients. This may involve developing personalised treatment plans that accommodate communication differences, using alternative communication methods such as visuals scaffolding to breakdown instructions, use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices, and fostering a supportive environment that honours each individual's unique identity.


Ultimately, affirming care is about empowerment and validation. It's about creating spaces where neurodivergent trans individuals feel seen, heard, and valued, and creating care that is accessible to all individuals and accomodating for their unique needs. As we continue to advocate for inclusivity and acceptance, let us remember the importance of embracing diversity in all its forms.

By affirming both gender identity and neurodivergence, we can create a world where everyone has the opportunity to thrive as their authentic selves.


Resources to learn more about neurodiversity and affirming care


Books

  • The Autistic Trans Guide to Life by Jenn Perkins, Wenn B. Lawson, and Emma Goodall

  • Unmasked: The Ultimate guide to ADHD, autism, and neurodivergence by Ellie Middleton

  • Unmasking Autism: The Power of Embracing our Hidden Neurodiversity by Dr Devon Price

  • We’re All Neurodiverse by Sommy Jane Wise

  • Spectrums: Autistic Transgender People in Their Own Words (A book written by autistic trans people from around the world, this vital and intimate collection of personal essays reveals the struggles and joys of living at the intersection of neurodivergence and gender diversity).

Books for kids and teens

  • Queerly Autistic: The Ultimate Guide for LGBTQIA+ Autistic Teens by Erin Skins

  • The Awesome Autistic Guide for Trans Teens by Jenn Perkins and Same Rose

  • You-ology: A puberty Guise for Every Body by Trish Hutchinson

  • Every Body Book: The LGBTQ+ Inclusive Guide for Kids about Sex, Gender, Bodies, and Families by Rachel E. Simon

  • My Shadow is Pink by Scott Stuart

  • My Shadow is Purple by Scott Stuart

Podcasts

  • Two Sides of the Spectrum by Meg Proctor

  • How to ADHD by Jessica McCabe

  • Trans, Autistic, & Proud by Lia Webster

  • Doing It! Podcast episode: Autism, Gender Diversity, and Transitioning with Yenn Perkins and Dr Wenn Lawson

  • Things it's ok to ask for when you have ADHD - Webinar by Ellie Middleton

  • Connor De Wolfe's Tik Tok

  • Yo Samdy Sam: YouTube channel on Autism

  • Different not Less: Youtube Channel by Chloe Hayden

  • Purple Ella: YouTube Channel on Autism and Disability

  • What's It Like to Have ADHD by ADHDVoices

  • Welcome to the Autistic Community by Autistic Self-Advocacy Network

Instagram accounts

Lived experiences of neurodivergent individuals:


  • @neurowild_ (AuDHD speech pathologist) - @neurowild_

  • @neurowild_ (Trans/AuDHD/bipolar educator/advocate)

  • Chloe Hayden (Autistic actress and advocate) @chloehayden

  • Yellow Ladybugs (Organisation that helps female-identifying autistics have their voices heard)

  • Neurodivergent Rebel (Queer/Trans/AuDHD author)

  • Ella Willis (Queer/AuDHD illustrator)

  • @agonyautie

  • Sandhya Menon from @onwardsandupwardspsychology (AuDHD Psychologist)

  • @ND.Narratives (AuDHD/Black voice/Somatic

To work with one of our neuroaffirming speech pathologists, please contact us. We would love to meet you!





16 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page