Nurture Nest Speech Pathology offers neurodiversity-affirming speech therapy practices that focus on your child’s strengths and on your family-centred goals. We strive to help children achieve their highest potential in communication, interaction and mealtimes across daily settings, while still honouring their unique and authentic selves. We also welcome neurodiverse parents and carers to our workplace and hope to make each and every person feel welcome and understood in our interactions together. Anna Blee (Director) is the proud Mother of a beautiful, neurologically-diverse boy, and so experiences this at a Parent level, as well as through her clinical lense.
Neurodiversity-affirming speech therapy
Neurodiversity is the idea that neurological differences are natural and should be respected and valued, just like any other type of diversity. This includes conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyslexia, and other conditions that affect cognitive and communication functioning. Instead of viewing these differences as deficits or disorders, where a person needs to be pathologized and ‘fixed’, neurodiversity-affirming speech pathology practices focus on supporting individuals in developing their unique strengths and communication styles. We focus on addressing barriers that might exist within the environment and also the partners with whom your child interacts; on building a culture of understanding and of celebrating differences; of building skills; and of learning to self-advocate and develop a true and authentic sense of identity that includes the neurological make-up. We do not provide behaviourally-based interventions to neurodiverse children, that might override a child’s autonomy in any way (e.g. ABA).
Acknowledging and respecting different communication styles
Another important aspect of neurodiversity-affirming speech therapy is acknowledging and respecting different communication styles. Neurodivergent individuals may communicate in ways that differ from neurotypical individuals, such as using nonverbal communication or unconventional sentence structures. Speech-language pathologists should work with clients to identify their unique communication styles and provide strategies to help them communicate effectively in a way that is comfortable and natural for them. Again, focus on up-skilling partners and creating environments that welcome their ways of communicating and allow their peers to integrate with them in these ways is our focus.
Neurodiversity-affirming therapists recognise that the goals and priorities of therapy may differ for neurodivergent individuals. We aim to listen to and learn from Autistic voices within the community, and to engage in continuous professional development to keep abreast of the latest research, and Autistic Accounts. We aim to provide services that are empathetic, sensitive and supportive. For example, a neurotypical individual may prioritise fluency and clarity in their speech, while a neurodivergent individual may prioritize developing social communication skills or reducing sensory overload in communication environments. Collaborating with clients and their families to identify their goals and priorities is key. This means recognising that the client is the expert on their own experiences and needs and should be treated as an equal partner in the therapy process.
Nurture Nest Speech Pathology’s approach in therapy is relationship-based and built on your child’s intrinsic motivations in order to learn and connect. We place emotional wellbeing at the forefront, and attune closely to your child’s cues. We have knowledge about sensory differences and can accommodate these in our sessions to maximise engagement with your Occupational Therapist’s support. We are skilled in the trial, prescription and implementation of AAC and welcome all communication styles to our workplace. We also aim to provide culturally-sensitive services and welcome all cultures to Nurture Nest. We hope to connect with you soon and dream of making a difference in your family’s lives.