Affirming Strategies for Working with Neurodiverse Clients – 9/19/19

Affirming Strategies for Working with Neurodiverse Clients

Upswing Advocates August Stockwell, PhD, BCBA-D, Worner Leland, MS, BCBA, Lee Nethercott

Live Event Information:

  • Date: Thursday, 09/19/2019
  • Time: 6:00pm-9:00pm eastern (New York)

Recording Information

  • This webinar is presented LIVE and will be recorded. All registrants have the opportunity to attend LIVE and/or view the recording during the 5 day limited access period that begins the day after the live webinar.
  • Not sure how our recording program works? Read More

Out of stock


[pane title=”Abstract and Learning Objectives”]


Neurodiversity is: “A concept where neurological differences are to be recognized and respected as any other human variation. These differences can include those labeled with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome, and others” (National Symposium on Neurodiversity, 2011). The neurodiversity movement calls for an understanding of neurological differences across individuals, and it advocates for the social acceptance of people with non-neurotypical diagnoses, experiences, and behaviors. This is a shift from a more traditional medical model of viewing neurological differences as pathology, and instead, it views neurology differences as natural variation within the human species (Jaarsma & Welin, 2012).

While not directly related to how the term neurodiversity is defined, the neurodiversity movement has become associated with certain groups of individuals that oppose the use of evidence-based interventions used to address challenging behavior that some individuals who are neurodiverse may engage in. In addition, some equate the movement with the “anti-ABA” movement. ABAC guest speakers Worner Leland and Dr. August Stockwell of Upswing Advocates and their guest Lee Nethercott, Co-Organizer of Chicago Neurodiverse Queers will address this disconnect between public opinion and the actual purpose of the movement and demonstrate that a neurodiversity model is supported by the ethical standards and professional guidelines of major mental health and behavioral health organizations including the American Psychological Association and the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. During this webinar, the presenters will highlight the ethical importance of promoting client autonomy and BACB ethical requirements to advocate for the best interests of the primary client (2.02) and to involve the client in the planning of and consent to all services (4.02). Empirically validated and supported therapeutic and behavior analytic services can be a meaningful way to promote client skill building for greater autonomy.  

Based on a collaboration with members of the neurodiverse community in the Chicago area, this presentation will review the key elements of a neurodiverse approach to understanding client experience and share the perspectives of neurodiverse people who have received therapy and other services from helping professionals. This workshop will address the importance of social validity in service provision and navigating conflicts in ethical commitments and requirements.

Finally, this workshop will present concrete strategies that helping professionals can employ when working with neurodiverse clients as well as provide an opportunity for discussion of how these strategies apply to each attendee’s professional practice. Empirically-supported literature and data will be presented where applicable and available, and audience questions and discussion will be welcomed throughout the workshop.


Learning Objectives:

After attending this introductory-level workshop, participants will be able to: (

1) Explain how a perspective of neurodiversity differs from a more traditional view of mental illness, intellectual disabilities, and other neurological differences across individuals.

(2) Explain a “client as expert” model in both therapeutic and behavior analytic terms.

(3) Select ways in which a “client as expert” model can be used to make adaptations to the therapy or behavior analytic environment that can empower clients and increase the impact of services.

(4) Select ethical codes that directly align with a neurodiversity approach.

(5) State several concrete, evidence-based strategies a helping professional can use in order to create an affirming environment for neurodiverse clients.


[pane title=”Credit Hours Information”]

Continuing Education:

  • Behavior Analysts: 3 type II ETHICS CEs Live or Recording
  • Psychologists: 3 ETHICS CEs Live or Recording
  • Social Workers and Certified Counselors: 3 Ethics CEs  ~ Must attend LIVE
  • Teachers: Acquire professional development hours for watching this event. Discuss the event with your supervisor to determine if it is eligible.

For ABAC’s continuing education approvals statements please view our Continuing Education page


[pane title=”Schedule”]

6:00 pm: Introduction

6:05 pm: Presentation begins

7:30 pm: 10 minute break

7:40 pm: First Q&A Session- submit questions via chat

7:50 pm: Presentation resumes

8:45 pm: Q&A submit questions for chat

9:00 pm: Submit attendance codes, take post-test, and fill out confidential evaluation form


[pane title=”Speaker Information”]

Professional Bio of August Stockwell, PhD, BCBA-D, Executive Director of Upswing Advocates, Associate Director of Research and Practice at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology August Stockwell is the Executive Director at Upswing Advocates: a nonprofit organization that provides education and research opportunities that focus on the LGBTQIA community. Over the past 10 years, August’s research has focused on topics including polyamory, communication in relationships, gender, sexual behavior, mindfulness, and effective skill-building strategies. They have a vision of using precise measurement and an individualized approach to connect people to affirming, accessible interventions that create meaningful change. August is also the Associate Director of Research in the Applied Behavior Analysis Department at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Professional Bio of Worner Leland, MS, BCBA, Researcher and Educator at Upswing Advocates, BCBA at Empowered: A Center for Sexuality  Worner Leland, MS, BCBA is an Researcher and Educator at Upswing Advocates and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at Empowered: A Center for Sexuality. For the past several years, Worner has also served as a sex educator with a focus on expanding affirming sexual education, consent education, and education on sexuality and data collection. Their research has focused on intimacy-related behaviors in the queer community, and they value centering affirmation of all identities and relationship styles in intimacy-related research. Worner is also the President of the Association for Behavior Analysis International Sexual Behavior Research and Practice Special Interest Group.

Lee Nethercott is passionate about empowering and advocating for LGBTQ and neurodiverse individuals, as well as educating people and breaking down misconceptions about these communities through research and activism. They currently co-organize Chicago Neurodiverse Queers (NQ): an LGBTQ-focused meetup group for neurodiverse individuals. For this presentation, Lee facilitated focus groups of NQ members and provided feedback and research assistance. Lee holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Loyola University Chicago and aspires to complete additional schooling to become a Sociologist. In the meantime, they enjoy baking and spending time with their dog, Sawyer.

Presenter Disclosure Statement:

Upswing Advocates does not receive royalties for any of the materials or companies discussed during this event. All speaker fees are sent directly to and support Upswing Advocates: a nonprofit organization that provides sliding scale coaching, groups, trainings, and research opportunities that focus on the LGBTQIA community



Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities

Our webinars are available to anyone who is able to access the internet. For those who are vision impaired attendance codes are read aloud and graphs and videos are described verbally. For those who require it, our webinar platform allows for closed-captioning. For more information, contact us at

Cancellation, missed webinar, and grievance policy information

Scroll to top