"Oh wow, so now everyone is autistic?" I encounter some form of this comment on my social media every day. I realize this comment is usually said in the spirit of sarcasm, but they are not 100% wrong. There is a wave of hundreds of thousands (probably millions) of adults discovering they are autistic and/or neurodivergent because they were overlooked due to being AFAB (assigned female at birth), LGBTQ+, BIPOC, etc. Both the general population and medical professionals are still in the process of catching up to understand how to support this demographic.
I come across numerous stories of autistics seeking therapy, only to face dismissal and invalidation due to the therapist's lack of education and knowledge about autism and neurodivergence. This is precisely why neurodivergence-affirming therapy is so important. Neurodivergent individuals require safe spaces to pursue therapy.
Therapy constitutes a vulnerable journey. Essentially, a client opens up to a complete stranger, revealing deeply personal and painful aspects of themselves. Picture confiding your pain and profound truths, only to be invalidated by the person you trusted with so much. The feeling is incredibly disheartening.
Being neurodivergence-affirming as a therapist implies not viewing neurodivergence as a condition necessitating "treatment" or correction. Neurodivergence is an integral facet of the extensive spectrum of human existence. If my neurodivergence were to be "fixed," I would cease to be myself. While navigating neurodivergence can indeed pose challenges, it does not inherently signify a "problem" any more than neurotypicality does. Both represent variations within human experience, each with its own advantages and disadvantages contingent on numerous factors.
My assertion of being neurodivergence-affirming signifies that I've endeavored to tailor therapy to accommodate the unique experience of each neurodivergent person without pathologizing their experience.