Challenging Myths about Autism – What Assessors and Therapists Need to Know: Lessons from the Neurodiversity Movement


Welcome to Schwartz Neurodiversity Services; coaching, educating, and spreading awareness of Neurodiversity in all walks of life.

Schwartz Neurodiversity Services is proud to host:

Challenging Myths about Autism – What Assessors and Therapists Need to Know: Lessons from the Neurodiversity Movement

Presented by Joel Schwartz, PsyD, of Total Spectrum Counseling on May 7, 2021 from 9AM to 4PM PST, 12PM to 7PM EST. If you cannot make this session, you may sign up and watch the recording after.

This 6-hour course is offering APA approved CEs provided by The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Institute for Professional and Continuing Studies for Psychologists, MFTs, LCSWs, LEPs, and LPCCs.

Group and Student rates available. Email Dr. Joel Schwartz for details (

Program Description:

As more and more people are coming out as autistic and openly participating in society, it is becoming abundantly clear that the last 60 years of scholarship on autism is woefully biased and inadequate. Most of what we know about autism comes from a deficits or medical model that centers non-autistic experience as normal and most functional. The result of this is that most knowledge, treatments, conceptualizations, and theories of autism are inherently ableist; practitioners see differences in functioning as less than human or disordered/deficient. When viewing autistic phenomena purely through a neurotypical lens, we develop a narrative of autism that is completely disconnected from the actual lived experience of autistic people. This continues a scientific tradition of centering majority experiences as normal in order to pathologize or minimize the importance of a minority experience.

In the last 15 years or so, autistic people and advocates have been developing a new paradigm to understand neurological brain differences. Borrowing from other social justice movements, the neurodiversity paradigm views conditions such as autism and ADHD as stemming from naturally occurring biodiversity. If we begin to understand autism from this perspective, including contributions from autistic researchers, autistic bloggers, autistic theoreticians, and autistic clinicians, we begin to develop an entirely different understanding of what autism actually is and how societal values, standard treatments, and modern hegemonies end up hurting and disabling autistic people more than they help. This program weds recent research on autism with lived experience of autistic people under a banner of neurodiversity to inform clinicians about how to best work with autistic people as assessors and therapists.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to describe theories, vocabulary and treatment options provided by the neurodiversity perspective.
  2. Participants will challenge myths and stereotypes about autism.
  3. Participants will be able to describe autism from a lived-experience/neurodiversity perspective.
  4. Participants will be able to identify ways in which current treatment of autistic people can be further disabling or traumatizing, and learn alternatives that value the autistic experience.
  5. Participants will recite the strengths and weaknesses of various autism assessment methods.
  6. Participants will use actual case presentations to model neurodiversity affirming therapy and begin to immediately incorporate theories into their practices.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology maintains responsibility for this program and its content. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is approved by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) to offer continuing education programming for MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs, and/or LCSWs. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is an accredited or approved postsecondary institution that meets the requirements set forth in Sections 4980.54(f)(1), 4989.34, 4996.22(d)(1), or 4999.76(d) of the Code.”

Learn more about  Dr. Joel Schwartz here

For questions, email Dr. Schwartz at

About Total Spectrum Counseling

Sometimes life's challenges seem insurmountable. We are constantly growing, learning, evolving; today is merely the scaffolding for your next self. At Total Spectrum Counseling, we are passionate about the art and science of psychotherapy.