top of page

What is Neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity refers to the diversity of human nervous systems ("neuro" as in "neurology").  


My work is based on the neurodiversity paradigm.  This stands in opposition to the deficit / disorder framework which forms the foundation for the majority of the research and treatment of neurodivergent people over the past century.

The neurodiversity paradigm views neurodivergences as simply different ways of being human - "different not less".  Neurodiversity affirms the necessity of those with lived experience not only being involved in the research but actually designing and leading it. 

In the words of Nick Walker, a prominent autistic writer and educator:

1.) Neurodiversity is a natural and valuable form of human diversity.


2.) The idea that there is one “normal” or “healthy” type of brain or mind, or one “right” style of neurocognitive functioning, is a culturally constructed fiction, no more valid (and no more conducive to a healthy society or to the overall well-being of humanity) than the idea that there is one “normal” or “right” ethnicity, gender, or culture.


3.) The social dynamics that manifest in regard to neurodiversity are similar to the social dynamics that manifest in regard to other forms of human diversity (e.g., diversity of ethnicity, gender, or culture). These dynamics include the dynamics of social power inequalities, and also the dynamics by which diversity, when embraced, acts as a source of creative potential.


What does it mean to be Neurodivergent?


A neurodivergent person's nervous system "diverges" - or differs significantly - from societal norms.  We can be born neurodivergent (sometimes called innate neurodivergence) or we can acquire it later on. 

Autism and ADHD are examples of innate neurodivergence while epilepsy  and traumatic brain injuries are acquired.  The neurodiversity movement does not oppose proposals to "treat" acquired neurodivergence because clearly this would not be tantamount to getting rid of core aspects of someone's personhood.   This is very different to attempts to cure autism, for example, where there would be a very real attempt to get rid of core parts of someone's basic way of being and personality.

My Story

I am autistic and simply realising and embracing this has led to major shifts in my self understanding and compassion.  The biggest thing is that I realised once and for all that I wasn't "broken" or abnormal. 

#actuallyautisitc (2).png

I had lived for so many years with these gnawing suspicions, unable to access root "causes" or explanations despite years and years of therapy and personal work.  Add to this that I was a therapist with a successful career history.  My eye contact and communication is good, I am insightful and highly empathic.  Clients consistently offered positive feedback and chose to work with me for long in depth processes.  In addition, well meaning therapists and colleagues tended not to see it when I broached the topic.  I just was so far away from the unhelpful stereotype of an autistic person which had been perpetuated via the media and medical / research circles. 

I have written a blog post about the qualities of autistic therapists here

autism spectrum.jpg

Claiming and embodying my autistic identity was a slow and gradual road for me.  However, as many people know, being autistic usually means having  intense and focused interests ... and  in my case one of these became autism!  Over the past 5 years I have been immersed in the  neurodiversity movement, deconstructing and unlearning my own internalised ableism.

What is neurodivergent - affirmative therapy?

There are some key elements which I bring to therapy processes with neurodivergent people:


Sometimes therapy can be the first place you experience authentic autistic / neurodivergent culture - where you are seen and valued exactly as you are.  Stims and SPINS welcome!

Managing burnout

ND burnout is pervasive.  This is a particular type of burnout with particular recovery pathways, caused by living in a NT (neurotypical) world.  It is distinct from workplace or relationship burnout due to stress.

Working with Complex trauma 

Most autistic people have a history of complex trauma. How can we not when we have grown up in a world which has  pathologised our existence? 


I can help and support you to unpack and get to know your own unique "neurotype".  There is often a process of unlearning and reframing, which weaves and spirals its way through sessions.


Looking at masking

The topic of (un) masking is a thorny one.  Therapy can be a safe space to explore first of all who your authentic self is and then what it might be like to allow yourself to be seen as you are.

Celebrating you

Prize you as you are and support your own self compassion, freeing you up to essentially live a happier and more fulfilled life.  Validate your challenges and help you to access relevant resources and support.

My colleague, Leo, and I have recently launched a podcast called "Autistic Licence".  We would love you to join us!

Autistic Licence | a podcast by autisticlicence (

bottom of page