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Affirming Strategies for Working with Neurodiverse Clients: A 4- hour ETHICS workshop in 2-parts



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Event Information

Worner Leland, MS, BCBA

Wednesday, 12/8/2021 & 12/15/2021 | Time: 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm eastern (New York)

Recording closes 12/25/21 at 11:59 pm eastern (New York) | You must register prior to the LIVE event to have access to the Recording.

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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 advocates for the social acceptance of people with non-neurotypical diagnoses, experiences, and behaviors, and views these differences as natural forms of phylogenic variability (Jaarsma & Welin, 2012). This model of acceptance, in addition to a social model of disability, can and should be considered directly aligned with ethical best practice. While not directly related to how the term neurodiversity is defined, the neurodiversity movement is one that some equate with the "anti-ABA" movement.

ABAC guest speaker Worner Leland 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 as well as the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. During this webinar, the presenters will highlight direct alignment with the tenants of neurodiversity affirmation and the BACB ethics code (BACB, 2020). Neurodiversity affirmation can inform clinical goals, environmental arrangement, and skill building processes in the service of client autonomy and social validity. 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.

Target Audience: Professionals for whom the topic is within their scope of practice. We welcome students and others who are also interested in the topic to join us.


After attending this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Identify how a perspective of neurodiversity differs from a more traditional view of mental illness, intellectual disabilities, and other neurological differences across individuals.
  • Identify definitions of “client as expert” model in both therapeutic and behavior analytic terms.
  • 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.
  • Select ethical codes that directly align with a neurodiversity approach.
  • Select evidence-based strategies helping professional can use in order to create an affirming environment for neurodiverse clients.


Worner Leland, MS, BCBA is an agender, neurodivergent human, and a former researcher and educator of Upswing Advocates.
For the past several years, Worner has also served as a sex educator with a focus on expanding affirming sexual education, consent and assent education, and education on sexuality and data collection, and their research has focused on intimacy-related behaviors in the queer community. Worner is also a Past President and past Research and Dissemination Liaison of the ABAI Sexual Behavior Research and Practice SIG.


Worner Leland has no financial l disclosures to make regarding the materials, resources, organizations, or research presented during this webinar or workshop.


    • Behavior Analysts earn 4 Ethics CEs (learning ) For LIVE or RECORDING
    • Psychologists earn 4 Ethics CEs For LIVE or RECORDING


Additional Information

  • You must attend the entire event to receive credit.
  • Must submit all attendance codes and pass the post-test (see Expected Learning Outcomes).
  • Webinar/Workshop Portal closes 1 month after live event. You must download handouts and complete attendance verification and post-test within that time frame.
  • For ABAC's continuing education approvals statements please view our Continuing Education page.


After attending this event, attendees will select the correct answer on 80% of the questions within 3 attempts of the post-test that assesses the 5 learning objectives for this 4-hour event.


6:30 pm: Introduction
6:35 pm: Webinar begins
7:45 pm: Q&A session
8:30 pm: Evaluation, post-test and code submission forms