Neurodiversity Affirming Speech Therapy for Adults

At Speechaus our team of speech therapists are committed to neurodiversity affirming speech therapy for adults.

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What is neurodiversity affirming speech therapy for adults?

In recent years, you might’ve heard words like “neurodiversity” or “neurodiversity-affirming” being increasingly used by healthcare providers. What do they actually mean and why does it matter? This blogpost aims to clarify important definitions and outline our approach at Speechaus, so that you can be informed about what to expect when working with our team.

What does the word “neurodiversity” mean?

The term “neurodiversity” was first coined by American journalist Harvey Blume, then later popularized by Australian sociologist, Judy Singer (Heyworth, n.d.). It refers to the biological fact that there is diversity in human brains and minds. Therefore, “neurodivergence” arises when an individual has a brain that functions differently from dominant societal standards of “normal”, and that individual is referred to as “neurodivergent”. Some examples of neurodivergence include autism, ADHD, PTSD, and learning differences. On the other hand, an individual with a brain that functions more similarly to the dominant community is referred to as “neurotypical”.

It arises when an individual has a brain that functions differently from dominant societal standards of “normal”, and that individual is referred to as “neurodivergent”.

What does it mean to be “neurodiversity-affirming”?

There are often many challenges living with neurodivergence, as there may be physical, social, and emotional barriers that prevent from living life in ways that neurotypicals have access to. Therefore, there has been a recent paradigm shift in how we work with neurodivergent clients within speech pathology (and the broader healthcare system). This involves recognising and providing accommodations to address the various environmental barriers that the neurodivergent community may face whilst building skills that are meaningful to them (Speech Pathology Australia, 2023).

At Speechaus, we believe that all brain types (“neurotypes”) are valid. As such, we view neurodivergence as differences, not disorders. To ensure neurodiversity-affirming practices, we are committed to:


  • Listening to the voices of neurodivergent communities so we can learn from lived experiences
  • Checking language preferences (e.g., identity-first language or person-first language)
  • Consulting with research and evidence-based practice
  • Ongoing reflective practice to challenge our own biases
  • Continued advocacy for and with neurodivergent communities

What can you expect in our speech therapy sessions?

In our therapy sessions, we use a two-prong approach. Together, we can build relevant communication strategies to support your ability to participate in the things you value with more ease and comfort, as well as address the physical, attitudinal, and social barriers you face on a day-to-day basis.

This can look like:

  • Developing self-advocacy skills to communicate personal/sensory needs and accommodations
  • Educating others about neurodivergence and communication differences
  • Repairing communication breakdowns to enhance interactions and relationships
  • Building and facilitating autonomy in all aspects of decision-making
  • Supporting ways for non-disclosure/partial/full disclosure about neurodivergence
  • Developing personalised communication tools to support participation in social, recreational, or employment activities
  • Building mental/emotional vocabulary to express internal states and to support self-regulation
  • Providing recommendations and referrals to autistic-led services and organisations

And the list goes on!

Be assured that every session is specifically tailored to your exact circumstances – no two sessions are the same.

Interested in learning more?

Navigating and finding the right providers can be tiring and confusing. Things like level of experience or expertise, belief and approach, and commitment to practices that align with the neurodivergent community. We’ve also dedicated another blogpost on how speech therapy can support neurodivergent social communication.

Interested in finding out whether we’re a good fit for you? We’ve got dedicated pathways no matter your starting point.

If you’re on the NDIS…

If you’re an NDIS participant, we serve clients who are self- or plan-managed.

Get in touch with our friendly reception to find out what the assessment process looks like for you. This helps us determine whether our team can bring the most value to your goals and funding. We’d be happy to assist with your social communication goals and your overall communication comfort!

If you’re a support coordinator or plan manager, we’ve got all the information you need at our dedicated page for referrers. Feel free to contact us directly or complete our NDIS speech pathology referral form.

If you’re not on the NDIS…

Don’t fret, we’ve also got you covered!

Start with our Social Communication Assessment, where you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your specific communication concerns and needs with one of our trained speech pathologists, regardless of whether you’ve got a formal diagnosis or not. Expect careful consideration of your exact circumstances through a neurodiversity-affirming lens.

Following the assessment, you’ll proceed directly into our dedicated social communication therapy pathways. You don’t need a referral for speech therapy to work with us, but you may have the option to access rebates for these sessions! If you’re interested in applying for the NDIS, we can also discuss this specifically with you.


Our Values


We advocate for everyone’s right to be heard irrespective of their communication barriers, identity, diagnosis, geographic location, language background or social status.


Since our time on earth is limited, we believe that all experiences, especially clinical/ therapy experiences should balance challenges with enjoyment. We are agile and strive to create engaging experiences for your communication and speaking goals that are more likely to stimulate concrete outcomes.


We believe that focusing on building strengths, even in the face of communication barriers and disadvantage, is the only way to transform lives.

Speechaus is Australia's leading pronunciation advocacy, clarification & fluency centre for adults.

+61 03 9042 3648
PO BOX 33076, Melbourne, VIC, 3004



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