Embracing Neurodiversity! How PlayWorks Therapy, Inc. Supports Neurodivergent Children


Neurodiversity – An Overview

March 13th through March 19th, 2023 is Neurodiversity Celebration Week! The term neurodiversity refers to the diversity of human minds, including the infinite variation in neurodevelopment within our species. This concept shifts away from the medical model of pathology and towards a strengths-based perspective in which differences are valued. For further information on this topic, see the blog post entitled Neurodiversity Means Natural Variety in the Human Brain, written by Caroline Stevens, MS, OTR/L. 

How We Embrace Neurodiversity:  

As a pediatric practice offering a variety of therapeutic services, we have the unique opportunity to support neurodivergent children on a daily basis. It is our responsibility and privilege to provide affirming services, presume competence, and continue to learn within and across our respective disciplines. Here are just a of the few ways that we are embracing neurodiversity while supporting our clients and their families: 

  1. Using Affirming Language: How we talk about kids matters! Specific language and the meanings we attach to words very much influence, develop, and change the attitudes that we have towards people, ideas, and topics. The use of affirming language refers to choosing words that honor and respect people and communities, including your child. 
  2. Collaborating Across Disciplines: We are a multidisciplinary team, including developmental therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, physical therapists, and social workers. We enjoy the benefits of collaboration across disciplines to support a neurodiverse group of children. For example, a key aspect of neurodiversity-affirming therapy centers around sensory regulation, which our occupational therapists are well versed in and always eager to support the team’s continued understanding of this nuanced area. 
  3. Creating a Validating Environment: We know that fostering a validating environment is foundational for building a meaningful relationship with your child. We work thoughtfully to ensure the therapeutic environment feels safe, is flexible and adaptable, and considers sensory needs.
  4. Taking a Strengths-Based Approach: We know there is not just one way to learn or a “right” way to learn. We can help your family develop a clear picture of your child’s strengths as well as an understanding of your child’s needs. We can embrace your child’s strengths and utilize their current skills to further support their overall development. 
  5. Continuing to Learn: As therapists, we are staying up to date with the latest information in our fields, being critical consumers of research, integrating new knowledge into our current practice, and listening to neurodivergent kids, adults, and advocates. 
  6. Partnering with Families: We partner with your family to discover how your child learns best, consider how you may talk with your child about neurodiversity, and provide insight on affirming and effective therapeutic strategies for supporting your child’s development. 

Let’s Discuss:  

At PlayWorks Therapy, Inc., we are passionate about providing neurodiversity-affirming services and continuing to learn with and from your family. We invite further discussion regarding neurodiversity and neurodiversity-affirming support services at any point within the therapeutic process. 

Interested in Learning More? 

If you have questions about your child’s development or would like to learn more about neurodiversity-affirming practices at PlayWorks Therapy, Inc., please contact us at info@playworkschicago.com or 773-332-9439. 

Ana Burgoon, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist 


Reference: Boren, Ryan. “Neurodiversity.” Stimpunks, Stimpunks Foundation.

Photo Credit: Photo by Leo Rivas on Unsplash