top of page
Neuro-affirming strategies
in action conference

Neurodiversity and Ableism in Clinical, Therapeutic, and Educational Spaces

Presenter: Brenard Grant

Identifying and Minimizing Triggers to Lessen Autistic Burnout

Presenter: Jenna Meehan, M.S., OTR/L

Autistic burnout is the intense physical, mental, or emotional exhaustion that an autistic person can experience when their energy has been depleted. By exploring and identifying triggers that drain energy, autistic people can protect themselves to set boundaries and advocate for their needs to minimize the frequency of autistic burnout. Likewise, caregivers can learn strategies to minimize burnout in their child. 

Neurodiversity-Affirming Approaches in Difficult Situations

Presenter: Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, Ph.D.

This presentation will discuss a variety of challenging situations, such as supporting a child in understanding and navigating personal space as well as supportive ways to redirect tricky play situations (e.g. a child shredding a book or throwing toys when playing).

Supporting Autistic Individuals During Crisis Situations

Presenters:  Gerald Parrish, Jordan Grapel

This presentation will discuss strategies to promote safety and de-escalation during meltdowns or crisis situations, with suggestions geared towards autistic individuals and caregivers. 

A Neurodiversity-Oriented Approach to Address Autism Wandering as a “Problem Behavior” in Pediatrics

Presenter:  Emily Hotez, Ph.D. 

This presentation will discuss stressors that increase the likelihood of elopement or wandering, strategies that caregivers and educators might use to redirect the tendency to wander in a way that is less of a safety hazard, and resources for pediatricians in supporting families.

Caring for Autistic Patients During Hospitalisation 

Presenter: Hendi Berrios, RN, BSN, CNIV, CPN, CPI

This presentation will overview strategies for medical staff in supporting autistic patients, understanding the patient’s communication preferences and sensory needs, and de-escalating crises within a hospital setting. In addition to discussing autism-inclusive strategies, the presentation will discuss inclusive strategies when working with patients with intellectual disabilities. 


Co-Constructing Worlds in which Everyone can Thrive

Presenter: DJ Savarese

“Fully included” from kindergarten through adulthood, DJ Savarese describes his life as a series of creative improvisations. Come and learn some guiding principles and specific tools and strategies to foster flexibility and offer individuals of all ages the freedom to choose for themselves what works where & when in their ever-changing worlds.  


Autism and Intersectional Identities

Presenter: Navya Adhikarla

This presentation will overview the intersection of autism, race, and culture. Suggestions will be provided for developing neurodiversity-affirming strategies that are also affirming of other aspects of identity. 

A Neurodiversity-Affirming, Collaborative Approach to the Autism Diagnostic Process

Presenter: Sam Brandsen, Ph.D. and Tisha Shah, MSP, CCC-SLP

This presentation will discuss formal diagnostic assessments for both adults and children with an emphasis on creating a collaborative environment, writing neurodiversity-affirming diagnostic reports, and providing autistic individuals and parents (where applicable) with supportive resources and connection to the autistic community. Many autistic individuals may not want or have access to a formal diagnosis, and the presentation will also provide resources for those who are questioning whether they may be autistic. 


Autism-Inclusive Mental Healthcare

Presenter: Tara Chandrasekhar, M.D.

This presentation will discuss ways to proactively implement neurodiversity-affirming therapy, create a sensory-friendly environment, and adapt to your client’s communication style. Likewise, the presentation will help clinicians better understand how “masking” or suppressing autistic traits can impact an autistic person’s mental health, and how to create an environment where autistic patients can comfortably discuss their autistic identity with you.


Complex Trauma Recovery: Creating, Discovering and Connecting to the Autistic Self & Community

Presenter: Willow Wilder, LCSW (she/they)

Overview: This presentation will discuss common themes to check in on with autistic clients, complex trauma mapping, relational questions and patterns, attachment vs identity or authenticity vs attachment, building identity and self-exploration, adapting EMDR interventions, and building mind/body connections. Likewise, the presentation will include resources used  for psycho-education around these topics as well as self-help resources that autistic adults can use outside of therapy.


Autism, Suicidality, and Improving Crisis Intervention Services, and 

Presenter: Kris McElroy

bottom of page